Basic plot from Amazon: The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father's servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.
Why I liked it: The main character Amir is far from perfect. As a privileged young man, he is often cruel and unkind to his closest friend, Hassan, who is later revealed to be his half brother. Hassan, though poor and uneducated, is honest, trustworthy, and upstanding, while Amir lies, betrays, and thinks only of himself. Amir resents his father's affections for Hassan and tries to turn his father against him. In the second half of the novel, Amir has the chance to redeem himself for his actions toward Hassan by returning to Afghanistan to save Hassan's son, Sohrab.
Classroom application: First, let me say that I would only recommend this novel for high school and probably only the upper grades of that. There are some very graphic, violent scenes including rape and beating. I listened to the book on audio tape and at points I wanted to cover my ears. In an English class, the novel could be a choice in literature circles with a coming of age theme or a world cultures theme. Conflict is also a strong theme in the novel as the powerless struggle against the powerful.
While fictional, the novel could be used in a history class paired with units on issues in the Middle East, the Russian/Afghan war, Islamic culture, the Taliban, class issues or immigration.
If you are interested in purchasing a copy of The Kite Runner for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.
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