Well hello again! Sorry I’ve been so absent from the internet lately. Last week I had four midterms (in a four day week!), two lab reports/journals due (one was 25 pages, one was 47), as well as work and Thanksgiving. YIKES!
Anyway, now that I have a relatively free week, I’m going to try and write up as many blogs as I can and post them throughout the next few weeks, since I know I won’t have time to write. In other housekeeping news, my friend Jehu has started a blog about math. I know, it sounds ridiculous. But it’s actually quite interesting. He’s studying to be a math teacher, so if you’re looking for some math help, or you just like math, check him out! themathbehindthemagic.wordpress.com
And here we go!
I read A Thousand Splendid Suns when I was in high school, but I forgot about it. I remembered parts of the story (specifically when Tariq finds Laila as an adult), but not what book it was. Before I read the book again, I found myself thinking about Tariq and Laila, and I knew I needed to find their story. So I headed out to the local Chapters (I spend a lot of time there. I would say don’t judge, but I know you won’t). I actually grabbed A Thousand Splendid Suns because And The Mountains Echoed, also by Hosseini, had just been released and was on a feature shelf. Since I loved The Kite Runner so much, I figured his other books would be great as well. I won’t bother going over the story, since it’s not a new book by any means and I’m just not patient enough for that. To the opinions!
My favourite character in this story is by far Tariq. He is so protective of Laila, so loving and devoted to her. I loved watching their friendship unfold and progress. One of my favourite moments was when Laila was bullied by neighborhood boys, who dumped urine on her head, and Tariq took care of them for her. They never bullied her again. Another favourite was Laila’s jealousy over all the girls who were interested in Tariq, and his response:
“You changed the subject.”
“The empty-headed girls who think you’re sexy.”
“That I only have eyes for you.”
“I will follow you to the ends of the world.”
Ugh. How great is he?
Alright so I need to make a bit of a confession at this point… I tend to live in the book. I climb inside, and I live there. Not just in the world it creates, but in the characters. In the case of A Thousand Splendid Suns, I put myself in Laila’s place. And I felt how much she missed Tariq in the two weeks he was away when they were children. And I felt her sorrow when her parents were killed, when she thought Tariq was dead, when Mariam gave her the chance to be with Tariq, to be free. And I felt her fear when she resigned herself to life with Rashid, to provide a life for her daughter, Tariq’s daughter. And I felt her joy when Tariq returned, seemingly from the dead. It’s safe to say I get a tad emotionally invested.
It wouldn’t be fair to write about this book without mentioning Laila’s father. He reminds me so much of my own. Mostly because of the way he supports Laila’s education, making sure she has her priorities sorted out. I mean, marriage could get you killed. Or worse, if you were still in school, expelled. Take a look at the following excerpt and tell me you just love Laila’s father.
“I know you’re still young but I want you to understand and learn this now. Marriage can wait, education cannot. You’re a very very bright girl. Truly you are. You can be anything you want Laila. I know this about you. And I also know that when this war is over Afghanistan is going to need you as much as its men maybe even more. Because a society has no chance of success if its women are uneducated Laila. No chance.”
He has so much faith in her, it’s just wonderful. I consider myself so lucky to have a dad who supports me and wants me to succeed in my education.
Another small confession: I get really excited when I read the name of the book in the book. Similar to when Alex Day reads Twilight and finds the word Twilight in the book. If you haven’t watched the Alex reads Twilight series, or if you haven’t heard of Alex day, here’s my favourite of the Alex reads Twilight series (it’s also arguably the most popular of the series). www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVvIOoMvXVM Heads up: Alex swears. A lot. He is also hilarious and charming and charismatic, so make sure you have some time before you start watching. Because once you do, you may not be able to stop.
Anyway, in A Thousand Splendid Suns the name of the book can be found in the following passage:
“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.”
I thought this was interesting, because not only is it a beautiful description, but it has the name of the book in it. AND a thousand splendid suns could also be a thousand splendid sons. The book focuses a lot on Afghan history, specifically it’s long struggle with wars and being occupied. Laila’s mother is overcome with grief at the loss of her two sons, Laila’s older brothers. They both left home to fight in various wars, and were both eventually killed. Those are splendid sons. Those who fight for their country, who believe in a cause and are willing to risk everything for it. Even if you don’t believe in the cause they support, there is something to be said for that kind of conviction, bravery, and maybe stupidity.
Here seems like a good spot to insert my last little confession… I have a soft spot for soldiers. I don’t always support what they are doing, the job they are sent to do, or their actions, but I also know that they don’t have a choice of where they go or what their job is. That’s not why I appreciate them though. I appreciate and respect them because they have made the choice to stand up for what the country they love, the people who live there, and what they believe in. As Demi Moore says in A Few Good Men, “they stand on a wall and say, “Nothing’s going to hurt you tonight, not on my watch.”” They spend their lives (ideally) protecting those who can’t protect themselves. It doesn’t get more honourable than that. Don’t get me wrong, I realize there are terrible, terrible people in the military, who abuse and torture and rape, but I like to think that the majority of soldiers, like the majority of people, are on the light side of things.
Now that I find myself good and off track, I might as well wrap this up. In the end, A Thousand Splendid Suns was a fantastic reread. It has plenty of heart and soul (insert piano riff here), and lots of interesting ideas about love and friendship. I know I didn’t mention the relationship between Mariam and Laila, but it wasn’t an exceptional part of the book for me. Yes, I am aware that it was a huge part of the story, but although it was interesting it didn’t stand out as much as the things I mentioned already. Read some other reviews if you’re really interested. I’ll even list some below. Anyway, I definitely recommend A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini is a wonderful author. It’s just as heart wrenching as The Kite Runner.
Till next time, have a great week. And happy reading!
Other reviews/thoughts on A Thousand Splendid Suns:
P.s. Alex Day did not in any way pay me to write about him. Any other cockamamie ideas your imaginations may come up with about Alex Day and I are probably also false. I just happen to enjoy his videos. And if he sees this and wants to contact me, that would be perfectly acceptable to me.