Chris's Reviews > The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
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's review
May 21, 2007

did not like it
bookshelves: poop, abandoned
Recommended to Chris by: Everyone
Recommended for: Monkeys
Read in January, 2008

I became what I am today at the age of twenty-nine, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 2008.

What I am about to tell you about what I became is going to be very shocking. It is going to manipulate your emotions. It may include some random words in my native language for no reason whatsoever. It will teach you unnecessary things about my culture. It will not be smarter than a fifth grader. And it will include as many cliches and as much foreshadowing as is humanly possible.

You are going to be shocked. I, for one, never saw it coming. So I doubt you will. Get ready. Aren't you so ready to be shocked? You're never going to see this coming.

What comes next is the big revelation, so get ready!

Wait, I need to ask you something first. Did you know that the Irish like potatoes? Yeah, we really enjoy them. And alcohol too. It's pretty great. Erin Go Bragh! This means Ireland Forever! Unfortunately, you will be very sad to know that my father just died due to an Irish car bomb. Well, about 15 of them to be exact. All on an empty stomach! It makes me sad and you should feel sad too, kind reader.

Ok, on to the big reveal. Here it is:

On that frigid overcast day, which happened to be the day that I decided to quit reading The Kite Runner, I became a book snob.

Because The Kite Runner is adored by most people who read it, I am forced to conclude that most people need to read more. A whole lot more. You should be embarrassed if you like this book. Seriously. The moment I became a book snob (shortly after "The Scene"), I became so embarrassed to be seen reading it that I accused the guy sitting next to me on the subway of putting the book on my lap while I wasn't paying attention. "How dare you, sir! Have you no decency?" I exclaimed excitedly in my native language. Then I noticed a monkey on the platform waiting to board a train. I quickly hopped off my train, ran to him, handed him the book, and said "Top O' the Mornin' to ya! Enjoy!"

Later that day, I saw that monkey flying a kite in front of the Washington Monument. I noticed that the glass string wasn't making his hands bloody. Do you know why? He was wearing gloves.

Please note that I have absolutely no appreciation for life and reality.*

*Bart Bondeson, who claims to be "a better person for having read this book," suggested that I make this clarification to my review. Thanks for the suggestion, Bart! Hopefully that clears things up for those who were wondering.
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Reading Progress

02/02 marked as: unfinished
01/06 marked as: abandoned

Comments (showing 1-50 of 478) (478 new)

message 1: by svnh (new) - rated it 1 star

svnh WIN. also, thank you.

Reese Haven't read it yet, but have had That Moment with a couple of different books in the pop-lit canon. Had a great LOL from your review. Thanks!

Dixie Diamond I haven't read/attempted to read this yet but I still had to vote for the review on its own pop-literary merit.

Shamser Rahman first half was good...but after tht, the book just went down the drain...[people seriously needs to start reading...i mean seriously, what kinda of a person would like such a crap like, i just hated the guts of the narrator...unfortunately i finished the book, and i kept on wondering why would people even recommend such an illiterate piece of junk...i d rather read GQ magazines and that would even teach me more and entertain me and fulfill my urge of reading...and after the first half, i d like to also state, each and every character within the story seemed annoying...dont read it unless you really are trying to get pissed off...its GARBAGE!!! what happened to the good old days, when good books were recognized, and not trash...if this book got to be popular, then any tom dick and harry can write a bullshit story as stupid as this, and gain fame and money

message 5: by Lisa (new) - rated it 1 star

Lisa Hilarious. I put this book on the same shelf.

Bethan thanks for that review, my faith in humanity has returned!

Mary Hilarious review, though I have to respectfully disagree. A lot of book snobs haven't read enough; it's easy to dismiss pop lit like Harry Potter and the Kite Runner as trough fillin' for those who don't know better, but is there not merit in the fact that people are reading at all?

Dismissing the Kite Runner for following conventional plot strategies is like dismissing poetry for following iambic pentameter.

The Kite Runner was certainly timely in its themes. How many Americans do you know who would independently seek out a book on Afghani culture to better understand the political and cultural climate?

On top of the merit there, I found the prose to be delightfully agile and complex for such a wrenching story.

message 8: by Jeff (last edited Jun 08, 2008 02:16AM) (new)

Jeff Thank you for your review. You have endeared yourself to me for all time. It's so sad that such poorly written, substandard garbage like this book is what passes for popular fiction now. It's comforting to know that there are still people in the world who are able to distinguish good literature from monkey feces.

La Petite Américaine HAHAHAH "if you liked this book you should be embarrassed!" Well said. :)

I finished this godawful book well over a month ago and I STILL hate it. UGH.

Anthony I loved your review. You said a lot of what I felt while reading the half of the book that I did manage to finish reading. Your review also gave me a good laugh. My imaginary hat goes off to you good sir!

message 11: by Chris (new) - rated it 1 star

Chris One of the best reviews since the Bic Pen Reviews on Amazon! Hooray for you, sir!

message 12: by Jane (last edited Oct 12, 2008 03:25PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Jane I'm glad I was not the only person made a book snob buy this poor excuse of a book. Chris, have no shame in being a book snob.

Skylar Burris I don't claim NOT to be a book snob, but I did very much enjoy this book anyway. However, that said, I still loved your review. Clever and funny.

message 14: by kendra (last edited Oct 31, 2008 09:01PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

kendra wow. i should've read your review before i posted my own. i'm so glad people like you exist. it makes me not want to shoot my face off after all.

message 15: by Tyas (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tyas Well I don't see why liking that book should make me embarassed. I don't understand either why there are people who think they're so smart a booksnob that they ask 'what kinda of a person would like such a crap like this'. Hahum, I don't know what kind of a person I am. Maybe you think I haven't read enough?

Whatever. I enjoyed the book, and whatever kind of person I am, I like being me.

Julie Taking the p**s out of people who enjoy this book is hardly something that a person 'expert on literary matters' would do. You didn't like it, but that doesn't mean that other poeple who did are ar****les. Give your opinion without taking the P out of other people.

message 17: by Naeem (new) - rated it 1 star

Naeem Thanks for this superb creation. You have skill.

Jency I cannot believe it that I read this review!!

message 19: by Alien (new) - added it

Alien  Citizen Chris wrote: "One of the best reviews since the Bic Pen Reviews on Amazon! Hooray for you, sir!"

Haha, I just read those Bic pen reviews...soooo hilarious. Nice to see people have a sense of humor (either that or they are completely nuts).

Koroviev If you didn't want to learn about another culture, you should not have picked up the book. It was a well known fact that the book was about Afghanistan and its people to a large extent. If you didn't know you should have read the reviews first. It is by no means garbage.

message 21: by Manny (new)

Manny Oh good, does this mean I don't have to read it? I had a strange feeling that it was a bad idea.

message 22: by Tom (new)

Tom Orza Sir, I could not have agreed with you more. Made me laugh. Thank you!

Rachel Yeah, we get it, you didn't like the book, but there's no need to compare those who did to monkeys and advise them to read more. Why don't you cut the "holier than thou" bullshit and stop insulting people's intelligence. Oh, and the Irish part that was supposed to be a "clever" exaggeration of Amir's narration? Yeah, not funny.

Karen I personally love the book, but this review is hilarious.

message 25: by Robert (new) - added it

Robert Look at me! I am a cool kid! I dislike a popular book! Sad little man.

message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

i love it. i get it. you're right!

but i did get sucked in to the book and i enjoyed it. i should ride more monkey filled trains, then i'd have a clearer sense of things.

message 27: by Michale (new)

Michale i never knew it was possible for people not to like this book...maybe i need to broaden my mind in the world of literature and read something other than harry potter.

Krista I got really into this book for the first few chapters, and it will probably end up on the 'couldn't finish' shelf as well. Found myself sick after the main character abandons Hassan, and doubly-sick after he gets sick and reminds us of what happened. How long until you gave up?

You hit the nail on the head: an insane amount of foreshadowing and unnecessary foreign words.

message 29: by Ldrhc (new) - added it

Ldrhc Loved your comment/writing. I can't decide if I should ask to be your new best friend or just read every book you recommend.

Rachel You are my best friend. Thank you!

Wendy Your review made me embarrassed about loving this book, but I also love your review. So there.

Victoria god i hate book snobs like you. so what if you didn't get out of it what many others did? do you really have to say "you people need to read more"? at least people are READING! isn't that the entire point of us being here? as a history teacher, i think the kite runner is excellent historical fiction. as a history teacher, i'm also concerned with the complete lack of reading that haunts mine and the younger generations. so that said, does this book serve its purpose (teaching history, empathy and a love of reading)? yes, yes, yes.

message 33: by Naeem (new) - rated it 1 star

Naeem Dear Victoria,

Without book snobs like Chris, your "yes, yes, yes" would go unchallenged. I teach courses on Afghanistan and I don't let anyone near this book. If you would like more details on the "missing" history excluded in Kite Runner, please see my review. Indeed, this novel is entirely built on a missing history -- one that the author and publisher know readers in the West are eager to avoid.

The choice is not between Kite Runner and nothing at all. Books that give a more holistic history and a more attuned critical spirit are available. Would you be willing to consider some of them?

In my view, this book does the opposite of what you claim: it does not teach history nor does it produce empathy at a deeper level. As for a love of reading, even the worst books can do that, yes?

The point of this forum is less to get us to read and more to debate our values in a public manner. You seem to be doing just that -- why not own up to it?

Victoria Naeem, I am always open to reading more historical fiction. My issue is not with Chris' review itself (I agree we should debate the intent and consequences of the texts we read), but the judgment he passes on people who enjoy the book.

I have a couple friends from Afghanistan - who, granted, have lived in the US since early childhood - and their parents speak very positively about Kite Runner, particularly the beginning.

I stand by earlier declaration: I do believe this book fosters empathy, perhaps not necessarily for the plight of the modern Afghan people, but for humans in general, and our struggle for virtue and courage amidst self-absorbedness and fear.

Have you read Hosseini's second effort, A Thousand Splendid Suns? A considerably better effort, in my humble opinion. I'm curious as to your thoughts on the author's growth and the authenticity of the historical narrative. Beyond that, I would love to hear your recommendations.

My sincere apologies if I offended you, Naeem. It just grates my nerves when we are quick to judge one another's imaginative cognition. Debate the merits and symbolism and thoughtfulness, sure. But not the readers themselves! :)

Shamrock86 Loved the review! Brought a smile to my face. It is beyond my knowledge as to why this book has received so many five stars.

His random and unpleasant insertion of farsi palabras (that's 'words' in spanish!) throughout the libro (that means book!) should be enough to subtract at least one star.

kristine de leon Shamser wrote: "first half was good...but after tht, the book just went down the drain...[people seriously needs to start reading...i mean seriously, what kinda of a person would like such a crap like, ..."

i did think that the first half was the better half cuz i just failed to relate to the sniveling douche that became the main character. it's like, get over it! you're middle-aged, it shouldn't be about you anymore, you brat. annoying.

Sebila You should be embarrased for being a judgmental prick. Seriously.

Shamrock86 Your statement is quite judgmental Sebila. I hope you see the irony in that.

message 39: by Liz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Liz Okay, I admit to being one of those people who liked the book, but thought your review was hilarious ... nicely done.

Sonya I loved the book and am not at all embarrased about that. However, the review is really funny.

Vishwanath Nathan I too loved the book.

Jannice I'm a 2nd year college student, and for the first time since I was in 5th grade, I am reading for enjoyment--however, I read this book for a class, and I did like it. I don't know if I loved it, but it truly touched my heart.

I think its offensive to say that people that enjoyed this book should be embarassed by it. That being said, for the sake of being open-minded, I have taken what so many of the reviewers on this commented area have complained about and will re-read and reapply those opinions to the book.

You've also caused me to realize a good point that I will try to keep in mind in the future: Just because your teacher hands you a book and raves over it, doesn't necessarily mean it will be wonderful. We are all still entitled to our opinions--however your review suggests that some people's opinions are better than others (namely your own and self-proclaimed "book snobs" elsewhere). And while I admit that I have still a lot to learn about nearly everything, I cannot sit here and not defend newcomers like me who enjoyed this book and are being told they should be embarassed by it. I respect your opinion, I just think you didn't have to be so rude about it, and a bit over-dramatic at that--but who am I to judge?

I also admit that I am extremely intimidated by "book snobs" like you, and if I were a more docile person, I would have just glazed over your review, pretended I didn't see it and get on with my life.

I don't ever want to be a booksnob, but I do want to learn about more sophisticated literature. Until then, I suppose I really can't argue my opinion against yours.

Simon Scarrow Oh come on, it's a competently written book. Hardly the stuff of embarrassment. TO be caught reading anything by Dan Brown, now THAT'S embarrassing.

My only real quibble with the book is that it is so cynically written with an American market in mind.

message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

Sebila wrote: "You should be embarrased for being a judgmental prick. Seriously."

Sebila, you should be embarrassed for not knowing how to spell 'embarrassed.' (And of course for calling someone a prick who doesn't share your opinion about a book.)

Viva le Chris Wilson!

message 45: by Elena (new)

Elena Never Read the book. Just trusted my husband when he said everything you said in your great review.I don't see anything wrong with being a book snob. Why should we digest all the crap that is out there with the sole purpose of making money?

message 46: by Stephen (new)

Stephen I read the review, I voted. I too am a book snob. Except on Thursdays when I'll read just about anything.

message 47: by Joshua Nomen-Mutatio (last edited Oct 13, 2009 11:35PM) (new)

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio So many of these comments are priceless and can basically be distilled to:


Also, the wonderful defense of the book of "My friends are from Afghanistan and liked the book, so, poo on you!"

The car bombs part made me laugh. I have no interest in this book. Fun review regardless.

Rachel Dixie Diamond wrote: "I haven't read/attempted to read this yet but I still had to vote for the review on its own pop-literary merit."


Yasser I actually read the book and liked it. But your review is still probably the best. I laughed non stop. thanks :D

Enbar HAHAHAA. Reading the book soon, sadly.

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