Dear Imaginary Book Club,
This month we read A Thousand Splendid Suns. It was recommended by In the Trenches of Mommyhood and Jurgen Nation. And pretty much everyone else I know that's read it for that matter. Because Khaled Hosseini is like so way talented it's almost unfair.
Sometimes I think maybe I need to drive to his house and toilet paper his yard. And maybe write something in shoe polish on the windshield of his car. The rest of the time I just wish he lived next door to me so maybe I could invite him over for dinner. Because in my head, he seems like he'd tell really good stories with a glass of wine in his hand while I'm clearing the dishes. And that would be cool.
Although I'm sure I'd blow it by rambling about how much I love his books and then he'd feel awkward and say he needed to get up early the next morning and rush out the door. And then he'd be too busy to chat whenever we'd see him going to the mailbox and then he'd pretty much never speak to us again and then my husband would let our dogs go to the bathroom in his yard and refuse to pooper scoop just to teach him a lesson. Not that we're like that. I'm just saying it's sort of how it might go down. Because I really like his writing.
A Thousand Splendid Suns is Hosseini's second book and like his first one, Kite Runner, it's set in Afghanistan. It tells the story of 2 girls. One of the girls is born to an unwed mother and her life is the equivalent of the short end of the stick. The other girl has a pretty good life going until everything goes to hell in a hand basket. And eventually their lives intersect.
One of the most impressive things to me about Hosseini's writing is that he can make a place I consider very foreign to me feel really familiar. Even though I've never been to Afghanistan and know very little bit about it, he makes it feel like an old friend. But he does it without making the book feel like a travel book or a history lesson. And it's a quick read. I started it before bed one night intending to read one chapter and I ended up reading 79 pages.
The thing that will linger with me the most from this book is how lucky I am as woman not to have lived under the Taliban. I'm a modern girl with lots of loud mouthed opinions. As I read about the rules that restricted women under the Taliban I wondered how I would have handled it. My first thought was that I'd be dead. I just didn't know how it would happen. Because I'm sure I would have committed infractions and gotten in trouble so maybe they'd have shot me. But I also figure I'd be so miserable I'd want to kill myself.
Except somewhere along the way I wondered if I wouldn't be like the rest of the women there and just learn to deal with it and hope it improves. Especially if you have children. Because children are such a powerful motivator. I know I couldn't leave mine. So I guess I'd just stay. And that makes me sad. Sad that people are stuck like that. What would I be willing to endure to protect my kids? What if my husband made me take my kid to an orphanage so he wouldn't have to pay to feed them? What if my husband was a total scumbag and I couldn't stand the sight of his face but he's all I had? Stuck and powerless. That's what the women are. It's powerful to think about.
A Thousand Splendid Suns is a very good book. I was genuinely surprised on page 293. I wasn't the least bit surprised on page 311 and I liked the ending a lot. I don't know that I liked it better than Kite Runner though. I gave Kite Runner to my mother to read when she asked me to loan her a good book. And it's still the book I'd give her. But I'd tell her to read A Thousand Splendid Suns, too.
And because good things are meant to be shared I'm giving it away. Free. Even shipping. Honest. Just ask Heather who won my free copy of The Glass Castle and is already halfway through the book and loving it.
So if you want a lovely used hardback copy of A Thousand Splendid Suns leave a comment and say so by Saturday, January 26th. That's all you have to do.
Next up, the Imaginary Book Club is reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Christine at Sippy Cups and Blackberries claims it's better than Kite Runner. I know. Them there are strong words. We'll be the judge of that. And by we, I mean, the Imaginary Book Club. And by Imaginary Book Club, I mean me. So I'll let you know. But the possibility has me excited.
Hugs and kisses,