La Petite Américaine's Reviews > The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
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Jun 14, 2008

bookshelves: sucked, middle_east, worst-garbage-i-ve-ever-read, rants
Recommended for: Morons Who Enjoy This Kind of Crap
Read in May, 2008

After pondering long and hard, I'm going to try now to articulate just what it was about this book that sucked so much, why it has offended me so greatly, and why its popularity has enraged me even more. This book blew so much that I've been inspired to start my own website of book reviews for non-morons. So let us explore why.

First, let's deal with the writer himself. Hosseini's father worked for Western companies while in Afghasnistan. While daddy (who I am guessing, from Hosseini's tragic account of the "fictional" father, never accepts his son) worked and got wealthy, normal Afghans lived their lives. When war broke out, Hosseini's father was offered a safe position in Iran. Just before the revolution in Iran, his father was offered another job in Paris, before finally taking the family to the USA.

That's fine ... some of us are lucky in life. Others are not. What bothers me, though, is that The Kite Runner is so obviously what Hosseini WISHES had happened.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Hassan character really did exist in some form or another. Surely Hosseini had a friend/sometimes playmate/servant who was left behind while Hosseini's powerful family escaped. Surely, Hosseini feels guilty for leaving his homeland by simple privilege while the less fortunate were left behind to fight the Soviets, the Mujahideen, and then the Taliban. And surely, Hosseini wishes he were some flawed hero that didn't simply get lucky. He wishes he'd majored in English, as the protagonist does, and published fiction books instead of becoming a run-of-the-mill doctor; he wishes his father had depended upon him in the USA as happens in the book, instead of getting by just fine as a rich exile with a daddy-doesn't-love-me complex; he wishes he could go back to Afghanistan, risking his life to make ammends for his shitty and cowardly past, instead of remaining a wealthy outsider living happily in the USA.

Hosseini is simply some guy who feels guilty about having escaped what so many of his fellow countrymen couldn't, and he makes up for it in fantasy in a million ways: accepting his fallen father, marrying an "unsuitable" woman, listening to a voice from the past, saving the son of his friend he watched being raped decades before (when he was too selfish to intervene), stomaching the live stoning of a burka-clad woman and her adulterous lover, taking a beating from an old enemy/Taliban child molestor, giving $2000 to a poor smuggler who tries to feed his kids on $3 a week, and saving a 12 year-old from suicide. If Hosseini REALLY did all this, what a hero he would be. Instead, he just makes it up and calles it a novel ... and people devour this shit with tears, labeling it as "inspirational" and "moving."

What really bothers me? Besides all of the contrived and predictable plot twists?? What really disturbs me is that people not only eat this shit up, but they also call it "literature," award it, and give this guy money and license to write another book.

For lack of better words ... WTF?!!!??! Has everyone just gone STUPID?!!?!?

I could go on about how the writing sucks, especially when the author admits to using cliches (elephant in the room, dark as night, thin as a rake, et fucking c) but I won't.

Why? A couple of reasons:

1) If you liked this book, a part of you is sick, and a larger part of you is an idiot

2) I could write a 100-page thesis about how much this book blew monkey chunks, but it's not worth my time

3) This shit sells, and Hosseini, between his stupid book and movie deals, is an even richer man than he was before ... which in the end, makes him smarter than you, me, and everyone else .... He understands the market and fed it back to us. We probably deserve it.
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Reading Progress

02/19 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 195) (195 new)

Jessica So glad you agree that this is a two-star (no more) book!

Sunflower Ballsy review. Liked it.

Jackie Gill "If you liked this book, a part of you is sick, and a larger part of you is an idiot"

LMAO! I loved that line - Well put! Although, most of the idiots are probably not reading these reviews, it is nice to know that there are a few people in the world with more than one brain cell! The acceptance and praise of this book shows how illiterate how world has become.

La Petite Américaine Hmmmm ... I think I am entitled to my own opinion, and if you don't like it, how about not reading it and moving on with your life?

Jackie Gill I think people are most defensive when facing the painful truth. I think Shay doth protest too much!

message 6: by La Petite Américaine (last edited Sep 01, 2008 04:56AM) (new) - added it

La Petite Américaine Maybe.

I don't find myself searching goodreads for positive reviews of this book so that I can voice my disagreement. Shay seems to have done the opposite. My review isn't meant to even be anything aside from a pissed of rant, which I can do here, uncensored (unlike on, so it really matters little to me what people think ... unless they agree with me, as it seems we're a small minority. That makes it interesting.

I strongly disagree that "Whatever happened in the author's life is irrelevant." When you take English 101 in college, the first thing they make you learn about is the author, his life, his times, and his experiences so you can use those facts in analysing the prose. What happened in the writer's life and times is TOTALLY relevant. What makes this book such a cop-out is that it obviously started as a memoir ... by the middle, it's all become a self-congratulating and self-aggrandizing work of embellishment, which so many Oprah Book Club nerds now call "fiction," or worse, "literature."

I still think this book sucks and that people who like it lack an understanding of literature and are moved by manipulative prose. So sue me. Oh wait, you can't. :)

message 7: by La Petite Américaine (last edited Sep 01, 2008 11:43AM) (new) - added it

La Petite Américaine I actually never called you any names. You read my review, took it to heart, and further, took it personally. Too bad, especially since we have a lot of other books in common.

You're obviously assuming that your cute, "insult-free" reviews are better than mine. I simply said "If you like this book, a large part of you is sick and a larger part of you is an idiot." Your review of the same book said "Like I said, I'm a sucker." I call you a sucker but you don't like it, but you insult yourself and it's a "good" review?

Don't like it?

Read someone else's happy-go-lucky reviews.

message 8: by Linda (new)

Linda Blake I couldn't finish reading the Kite Runner because of the child rape.

La Petite Américaine Well, that and it sucked.

message 10: by Kelly (new)

Kelly I purposely stayed away from this book because of the Oprah hype. I just found this site and I have to say I appreciate your honest feedback about this book. Must be my lucky day, I just dodged a bullet. thanks

La Petite Américaine Oprah. I haven't been able to stnd her since I read her editorial about the child molestation at her school and how much it hurt HER. >shudder< Nothing about how the child would be taken care of, only about how poor, poor Oprah was suffering. Of course she's the type of person who would like this book.

message 12: by Danielle (new)

Danielle You are obviously not a writer yourself "la petite". (Just reading how poorly written your review is I can tell you that). I'd like to see what you've written, well actually no, I wouldn't because it would probably "suck too much". But once you've written your own award winning book then please come back and do your review. I think people like you don't like themselves, I'm sorry if that hit a personal note but why else would this book "offend" and "enrage" you? Exactly. Go home and focus on yourself and stop giving amazing and enlightening books your poorly written reviews. I love your Oprah critique as well. How much money have you given to charity in your lifetime? Hm? You criticize people you don't know and books that it seems you didn't even read. That is why they are famous and you sit at your computer being worthless and giving bad reviews to good books...idiot.

message 13: by La Petite Américaine (last edited Dec 25, 2008 10:38AM) (new) - added it

La Petite Américaine Well, "Danielle," it looks like you just joined this website in December 2008 and have no books listed or reviewed. Why, it almost looks as though you signed up just to attack my review of the Kite Runner and to defend your goddess Oprah. But then you say I'm a bad writer. What a contradiction, if my review moved you to sign up to this site? Chump.

The book offended me and enraged me because it obviously started out as an autobigraphy and turned into a self-congratulating piece of crap fiction, the kind adored by idiots the world over, Oprah, and yourself, clearly.

Here's an idea. If you don't like my review, get the hell of my page, and get in the long line of people waiting to blow Oprah, Hosseini, and all of the other people made famous by the stupidity of people like YOU.

La Petite Américaine heehee ... god, these people are annoying.

message 15: by La Petite Américaine (last edited Jan 20, 2009 02:02AM) (new) - added it

La Petite Américaine Well, I wonder how seriously I should take the review of someone who gave 'A Million Little Pieces' five stars. But, whatever.

Your comment translates to this: "Don't criticize people, it's wrong and mean, you stupid idiot! I'm telling teacher!"

Yet another half-wit proving my point about this book.


La Petite Américaine "your Ann Colter, Right?" ... please learn proper English before you come embarrassing yourself and contradicting yourself on MY page. Ann Coulter may have shit ideas, but she knows her own language better than you do.

message 17: by El (new) - rated it 4 stars

El Holy cow, I can't believe this is still going on. You read the book in May 2008 and people are still finding offense. I had a different opinion on this particular book, but I was certainly not offended by your opinion. And if I was, I certainly wouldn't feel obligated to comment on it. Maybe I'm just more secure in my own opinions than the rest of them. But then they are called "sheep" for a reason.

La Petite Américaine Seriously.

message 19: by Jessica (last edited Jan 27, 2009 05:21AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jessica I always find it odd--and suspicious--when an offensive comment is given by someone who has no books, no reviews, no picture; in short, nothing on his or her page except the commentary on the "offending" review (#12). One cannot help but conclude that the profile was created simply to allow the offended person to make his/her views known. I find that troublesome & against the spirit of Goodreads. But hey--we can all voice our opinions here. It's just that, that sort of comment--backed by what seems to be no real profile, and hence, person--is not going to be taken very seriously.

La Petite Américaine It's almost kind of amusing how many people are pissed off about my review. My favorite books are hated by many, espcially Jane Eyre and The Scarlet Letter ... and I don't care if other people hate them. I'm assuming these people are of about an 8th grade reading level and have a minimum semblance of a life.

message 21: by La Petite Américaine (last edited Mar 09, 2009 05:46AM) (new) - added it

La Petite Américaine ZZZzzzzZZZZzzzZzZzZz ....Wha?? Oh. YAWWWWWN and big stretch. Sorry, I fell asleep around paragraph 398329873287.

Since I have a job, a life, and things to do in general, I don't have time to respond to everything, but let me touch on a couple of your points.

1) I didn't like this book. If you don't like my review, then don't read it. If you leave a comment, great, but can you try editing it? Shorten it, cut what's not necessary, make a logical arugment, tighten up the language and ... in short, get to the point instead of meandering like a WWI vet on acid.

2) "It seems to me your techniques of argumentation need a tune up." No, actually they don't, because I'm not trying to make an argument, I'm expressing my OPINION about why I didn't like this shitty book. Maybe you haven't learned this yet, dear, but after one graduates from college, you no longer have to write papers (those are kinda like what YOUR teacher calls a book report).

3) No, I don't know Ann Coulter. Do you? Does it matter? The point I made was that if you can't spell or use proper grammar when the person you're attacking can, then stop embarrassing yourself and get off my page.

4) Do I think I'm superior? Maybe. Do I think I have superior taste to those who love this book? Definitely. Thank you for your input, Freud.

5) I did actually delete one comment because this stupid chick was wasting both her and my time leaving annoying messages all over my page -- you've obviously seen her other posts, because you've taken the time to poke around on my other reviews and copy/paste her stuff here. Anyway, I ended up googling her and found her photo and work info ... then I just felt sorry for her.

6) "unless you disagree, could you please change 'recommended for: Morons who enjoy this kind of crap'." NO. This is MY page, MY review, and last time I checked, I can say whatever I want. If it offends you, use that God-given finger of yours and click elsewhere.

So, cute critique on my review. I'd pat you on the head and send you on your merry way if I could. Instead, let me say a couple of things... I assume you're about a middle-school to high-school age since your own writing is about as exciting and dynamic as watching snails mate. (Have you considered a career at the New Yorker for your future?)Anyway, you really need a life, considreing you started an account based on my review and then probably spent another hour writing your response. You're thinking too much there, kid. Maybe you should spend more time outside, in the fresh air, talking to girls and living a little.

Off you go now, it was your bed time hours ago.

La Petite Américaine damn ... that's twice now the commenter has deleted their own review. :(

Jessica I still think the commenter created his/her profile solely to comment on your review, Petite.
You should feel honored.

La Petite Américaine yeah, there were two where the people said they made a profile just to comment on the review ... one was so annoying that it spark my scathing reply above ... but they've deleted their comments. oh well.

Jessica I suspect that they were one and the same person.

That is my analysis, given the evidence.

--Detective JT,
at your service.

La Petite Américaine Lol. Awesome :)

Jessica just let me know what my next investigative assignment is!


Lesley "If you liked this book, part of you is sick"

I am so glad somebody finally said this! This has been my feeling all along! People raved and raved about the Kite Runner which is why I read it and now I wish I never had. The horrific sexual abuse just haunts me. How everyone can so zealously embrace a book where little boys are being brutally sodomized...well, I just have no words for that.

THANK YOU for your review! I'm so glad somebody finally said it. I was beginning to think I was crazy for not getting on the Kite Runner band wagon.

Jessica we are a small but important numbers are not great but our voices matter.
We are the Anti-Kite-Runner Club!

La Petite Américaine Lesley wrote: ""If you liked this book, part of you is sick"

I am so glad somebody finally said this! This has been my feeling all along! People raved and raved about the Kite Runner which is why I read it and ..."

A literary critic that I really enjoy is John Dolan. In reviewing another piece of crap book (one I didn't read, thank God) My Friend Leonard by James Frey, Dolan talks about "tearjerker porn," which I think defines The Kite Runner.

Dolan basically says that there are novels that build up to this cathartic release of tears in a sick or vile scene, similar to the structure of the >ahem< money shot in porn.

"This is typical tearjerking-porn structure: the point is simply to get to the fuck scene and squirt. The fact that ... readers want to squirt tears rather than semen makes this an especially sleazy kind of porn." Well-said.

La Petite Américaine Elizabeth wrote: "That sums up what I don't like about SO many books that people are always raving about. I'd described it as emotional manipulation, but this is much better. Thanks for sharing La Petite.

Got to ch..."'s a good place to start:

and then

message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Can I vote for a thread? I love all the twists and turns the comments have taken. The final comments on emotional pornography are especially interesting.

Thanks Elizabeth, for pointing this thread out.

And La Petit, that was some excellent vitriol.

La Petite Américaine Lol. I love it. :)

message 34: by Ken (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ken Larking I find it hard to believe that anyone with "only one brain cell" is reading any book, much less a book set in Afghanistan.

Nicole Are you serious this banter continues? What is it now? 3 years? Wow, you done good!

message 36: by La Petite Américaine (last edited May 13, 2010 08:26AM) (new) - added it

La Petite Américaine Nicole wrote: "Are you serious this banter continues? What is it now? 3 years? Wow, you done good!"

Yep, it continues 3 years later. Kinda warms my black little heart. :)

message 37: by Anne (new)

Anne I never read this book but tried to watch the movie. I don't even remember what it was about except some boys flying kites. The book sounds even worse.

Margo Berendsen Tearjerker porn - wow, thanks for giving me a name for what bothered me about this book. "The Sparrow" is another one that fits this category.

qqqqqqqq This review contains very little substance. All you've done is write an overly speculative rant about how Khaled Hosseini, a fiction writer, is making stuff up (Dear god! Someone stop this man from committing any more acts of atrocity!). Oh yeah, you've also insulted everyone who has a differing opinion. Good job.

message 40: by Gin (last edited Jul 19, 2010 08:08AM) (new)

Gin The Kite Runner was never high up on my "To-Read" list, but seriously...You presume to know what the author wishes? Furthermore, who cares if The Kite Runner is just what Hosseini wishes might have happened? Most books reflect their authors' viewpoints or desires, but if you get too caught up in the author you obviously won't enjoy the actual book as much. Quality of writing is a different story--I might have taken your review a little more seriously had you focused on the book and not on its author.

As for the "sick" parts, are all people who like The Bluest Eye sick? Oh dear, and I won't even get into Lord of the Flies...little boys turning savage and killing each other has got to be just about as bad as whatever happens in Kite Runner.

Frankly I think you're an arrogant @%$#. I'm not offended because you insulted The Kite Runner, which I have never read. I don't even care that you call Hosseini a privileged man with a guilt complex, which may or may not be true. But you obviously think you're hot stuff for being able to see the "true nature" of this book while other less perceptive "idiots" "eat this shit up" and so I thought I'd try and take you down a notch--two years later. :P

La Petite Américaine Yeah, I've been "taken down a notch" alright. You're a tool. Get a life.

La Petite Américaine Yeah, I've been "taken down a notch" alright. You're a tool. Get a life.

message 43: by El (new) - rated it 4 stars

El You know what, I had a different opinion of this book than you did, but your review didn't offend me - in fact I still giggle at it every time I see someone else has commented on the review. I also don't think I'm an idiot for having enjoyed it at the time I read it even after you said everyone who liked it is one. I read your review, I took it as another person's valid opinion, I moved on. But I keep seeing these angry people who are so opposed to the concept that someone has a different opinion and chooses to express that through a review on a public website. It amazes me that they are still crawling out of the woodwork to try make you reform.

It really just does come down to people's insecurities.

Joline Pruitt As an aspiring author, what you should be absorbing when your read these books is how these authors - that you fervently criticize more often than the actual book, making all kinds of crazy assumptions - have come to be successful. The author has certainly done something right in order to sell more copies of their books than you have yours. Or maybe getting your name out there on Goodreads with scathing reviews is your angle to gain admirers, blessing them with paragraphs upon paragraphs of redundant dribble – after the first few paragraphs I realized that I would rather read one of the books on my TBR list. You are quite arrogant and tragic. I look forward to reading your work, but I won’t hold my breath.

La Petite Américaine Churning out garbage for the masses of sentimental housewife book buying drones is what these authors do to have success. Glad you liked the book.

Joline Pruitt It sure as hell beats Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Isn't it tad hypocritical to admire a man who was the epitome of “churning out garbage for the masses of sentimental housewife[s:]” simply because he became paralyzed and had nothing better to do than write a shitty autobiography? Or does he have more respect from you simply because he is French? Shallow much?

La Petite Américaine You are fucking retarded. How do you even compare the memoir of a dying man to this poorly written fictional wannabe memoir? Ew get off my page you half-wit stalker, go masturbate to more housewife tearjerker porn.

Joline Pruitt LOL – did I strike a nerve? If at first you don't succeed with cleverness and intellect, try try again with profanity and name calling. It’s ok pumpkin, I know it’s frustrating when someone hates a book you love. One of the main ways you can tell Kite Runner is superior to Diving Bore/Butterfly is by the plethora of awards Khaled has sitting on his bookshelf. Oh, and the story is much better. Maybe when he moves to France and dies you’ll appreciate him more. Cheers!

La Petite Américaine Ew ick where's the block user button? I can't have these idiots popping up on my blackberry over a three year old book review. Get a life or a job or a boyfriend or something. Have fun with your Judy Bloom sweetie.

message 50: by Moira (new)

Moira Russell La Petite Américaine wrote: "Churning out garbage for the masses of sentimental housewife book buying drones is what these authors do to have success. Glad you liked the book." come noone ever calls me 'You are quite arrogant and tragic'? Damn.

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