Tag Archives: Afghanistan

And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini

And the Mountains EchoedAnd the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hosseini has done it again: spun a compelling story about flawed and delightful characters whose lives are connected by their roots in Afghanistan, only this time he’s done it a bit more gently than before. <i>And the Mountains Echoed</i> is a wonderful story of real(istic) people from every strata of Afghan society who make choices with consequences that ripple through future generations of their families. Through his masterful storytelling, Hosseini sucks us in and forces us to examine our own lives and motivations more deeply. At the core of the story are two siblings with a tight bond who are torn apart by the choices of adults who convince themselves that they mean well. The reader follows the consequences of those choices by learning of the affected characters from their own point of view. This means that we are able to visit the thoughts, feelings and emotions of a vast array of characters over the course of a half century and across three continents, and then slowly determine how their lives were affected by or connected to the core event of the siblings’ separation. I read this in under a week, because the story prompted me so (and I’m on summer vacation!), but for those who must read it more slowly with more interruptions, this narrator switching from chapter to chapter among a host of different personalities could get confusing. While Hosseini still touches upon the the tragedies of poverty and war that have beset Afghanistan for generations, this is not the focus of the story, and perhaps consequently, this story is less shocking and gut-wrenching than his previous two, which for me was a welcome reprieve. Read this one if you want a really good story, well-told, with great characters in exotic locations. ~ Ms. Dimmick

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Student Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini (reviewed by Camila H.)

A Thousand Splendid SunsA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was honestly one of the best books I have ever read. It was a perfect balance between a captivating story, and non fiction history. It forced you to learn about the history of the character’s country, but it also got you attached to the characters and the plot line. The relationships and connections between all the characters was really well done, and I loved how it started out with Laila and Mariam’s separate stories and then came together as one. I also loved how they had so many plot twists, especially the one with Tariq. It brought up issues with the Laila and Mariam’s family that were real-life issues, but it showed them to you from an inside view. The writing was also really well done, and I really liked how the author showed the story from two different sides. The ending was a perfect balance of sadness and happiness, because Laila got her perfect family and job, but Mariam had to die for Laila’s freedom. I thought overall it was an amazing book, and I would recommend it to anyone. ~ Student: Camila H.

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Student Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini (reviewed by Anya G.)

A Thousand Splendid SunsA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book- much more than I thought I would. At first it was a bit tricky to read, given that the point of view switches between characters, and jumps ahead years at a time. However, the way the two main characters’ lives come together was really interesting, albeit depressing. I liked seeing how they reacted to each other’s presence as wives to the same man. The author really got inside their minds, and made the book feel very real and close to the heart. Although the first 50 or so pages were a bit slow, after that, I really found the book hard to put down. The plot completely draws you in, and I found myself craving to learn more about Mariam and Laila’s plights, living with Rasheed. The plot twisted and turned, sometimes unexpectedly, keeping the reader completely immersed in the storyline. I sympathized with Laila and Mariam, laughing at the funny bits, getting weepy at the sad bits (and there were a lot of them!). I realized that right after finishing the book, I wanted to know more about Mariam and Laila and their lives. ~ Student: Anya G.

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Student Review: Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil, by Deborah Rodriguez (reviewed by Allie T.)

Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the VeilKabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil by Deborah Rodriguez

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This wonderful piece of nonfiction, gives the reader a view of Kabul in 2002, through the eyes of an American hair stylist. Deborah Rodriguez arrived in Kabul as part of a charitable aid mission. When she saw the state of dismay that Kabul was in after the Taliban came through, she knew she had to help. Although many people when trying to be charitable may donate money, Deborah donated her skills. She set a goal and accomplished it. Her goal was to create and operate a beauty school. Giving the society a beauty school actually ended up being more instrumental than donating pure cash because when taught a skill like beautification the students now have many options. Giving Afghan women practical training convertible into cash and personal power, was a radical idea in a country where women have a very low status comparatively to the men in the community. In fact, when Deborah was at her friends wedding in Kabul she had noticed that, “Afghan brides aren’t really supposed to look happy at these events.(15)” Objectively, men are encouraged to have the time of their lives on their wedding night. Is this fair? In this community it is considered a norm. However, in the United States this does not seem very ordinary, women in the United States stereotypically plan their wedding at a very young age. In the U.S. women are supposed to have fun and be exuberant on their wedding night, unlike in Kabul in 2002. ~ Student: Allie T.

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