Book Review: The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Rating: 4/5

Warning: This review is full of spoilers.

The Kite Runner has been a part of my bookshelf for over 8 years, however, this is the first time I read it.

Every single review challenges you to complete this book without shedding a tear. So, as soon as you are introduced to Amir and the kind-hearted Hassan, you expect the worst to happen.

I felt that the first half of the book was powerful yet heartbreaking. I found it difficult to accept certain situations, not because they were unbelievable, but because the story broke you down. Hassan’s character showed us how happily he accepted the good and bad things in life. Even though, it was becoming obvious that Hassan’s life would end in tragedy, I still found myself praying for his safety.

I also loved Khaled Hosseini’s writing – some of the sentences in The Kite Runner are so incredible that you will find yourself reading them again and again.

And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.

Hassan and his father’s escape to America was also an interesting part of the story. I found myself disliking Amir earlier in the book, so Hosseini gave me reasons to understand him better.

However, the second half of the book is the reason why I took back one star from this review. An abundance of coincidences, followed by a slightly unbelievable ending left me confused. The ending tied all the loose ends and even brought back some characters. I am not sure what I expected from the rest of the story, but this was certainly not what I enjoyed reading.

However, I would recommend this book to people because it’s written beautifully. It introduces you to the Afghani culture and tells you the reason behind the importance of the words “For you, a thousand times over”. I will definitely be reading the rest of Hosseini’s books in the future.

What did you think of the book? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Book Review: A Place For Us

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Rating: 3.9/5

Warning: This review is full of spoilers.

While promoting her book in an interview, Fatima Farheen Mirza said that when she was growing up, she never found a book she could relate to. And as a Pakistani Muslim, I completely agree.

Having read a great number of books, I couldn’t find myself reflected in any one of them. From my lifestyle to my religious background, I would often find these elements added to a character separately, but never together.

So, A Place For Us is the perfect book for South Asian children. But fear not, it is also a book that invites readers from other cultures to explore a completely different story.

The book introduces you to three Indian-American Muslim siblings: Hadia, Huda and Amar. Even though the story begins at Hadia’s wedding, Mirza takes us back to the past to make sure we understand the characters. However, Huda is the only character who is left unexplored in the entire story. Other than that, the book deals very well with family drama, broken hearts and racism.

One of the problems I had with the book was the inconsistent timelines. It was extremely difficult to keep up with the events, especially in the first half of the book. I also think the book was a bit too long. Every scene was explained in detail by more than one character. Although it fit perfectly well in some places, it bored me a little in others.

But I praise Mirza because she knows her characters; she shows us their weaknesses and their strengths while explaining the faith that brings them together. When Amar feels distant from his religion, you sympathize with him. He constantly remembers that his heart is ink-dark and that there is no hope left for him.

He had left the path. His parents had given him a map, and directions, and he had abandoned it all. Now his heart was so ink-dark he could be lost and not know it, and not care, and never know how to find his way back.

I often see that when someone goes through a turmoil or questions their identity, they are told to seek help from prayer. While it works for some people, others end up hating themselves because they think they are bad human beings. Why else are they not able to find peace in their religion.

Take depression as an example: people are told to pray and read the Holy Book to feel better. They are told that this is the only way out. However, Islam, like other religions, tells you to help other human beings instead of judging them. It tells you to listen and to make sure that others can rely on you.

Hence, Amar, who was once a part of the family, becomes a stranger.

On the other side of the story, you have the inflexible and tough father, Rafiq. But just when you decide that you dislike Rafiq, you read the book from his perspective. You find out that all this time he had been trying his best to become a good father.

Taking into consideration their feelings, who are we supposed to blame? Both the father and the son are stuck in an unusual situation: one only softens up when the other is completely shut off. The story, in turn, reflects the nature of people in real life — we can’t simply categorize someone as a bad person and the other as a good person.

The ending could have been more enjoyable if the book was a bit shorter and had fewer breaks between the timelines.

But let me congratulate Mirza — there are many children out there who will finally be able to read a story where they can identify with the family dynamics.

What did you think about the book? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Book Review: How To Stop Time

“It was like being stuck in the same song, with a chorus you had once liked but now made you want to rip your ears off.”

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

Rating: 3.5/5

I bought this book as soon as I heard Benedict Cumberbatch was going to play Tom Hazard in the movie. I was intrigued after reading its synopsis — after all, this is a topic not every author can handle well.

The most fascinating thing about books is that, anytime you think a topic has been used far too many times, someone comes up with a different way to present the idea. Which is why I truly enjoyed Matt Haig’s story about a man who ages really, really slowly.

The book, divided into five parts, presents Tom’s story in tiny snippets of his entire life. We get to see him as a child and we are able to understand his unusual struggles. But Tom is neither a bad person nor a good one — he is just someone who is trying to live his abnormally prolonged life. And so for me, his story was much more interesting than his character. When you read the book, you may even find Tom’s encounters with a lot of famous people a bit unrealistic.

But since it’s fiction, and the scenes are written really well, I enjoyed reading those parts. One beautiful addition to this book was the poem written by Camille. It’s not a spoiler but just a piece of art that certainly deserves appreciation.

The Way
That when you
On their side
Look like
A long way
Made out

The reason why I took back 1.5 star from the review was because of the ending. It all happened too fast and seemed like a far-stretched coincidence. Another thing I expected from the book was a better explanation of the rare condition anageria. In a way, the story had more potential if the author had not been in a hurry to wrap things up.

How To Stop Time is a book that takes you through different timelines and describes time exactly as it is — uncontrollable. Matt Haig is successful in combining the real and the fictional world in order to present a story worth reading.

What did you think of the book? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

TV Review: The Punisher

One Batch, Two Batch, Penny and Dime

Netflix has made sure that the last few months of 2017 are the ones we remember the most. Not only did we get the second season of Stranger Things, we also got to see our very own troubled vigilante The Punisher. We will also be treated to the second season of The Crown next month.

The show has received mixed reviews ever since it was released. I binge-watched the entire season and honestly, I enjoyed it.

Here’s the thing: Half the people are complaining about how The Punisher is too violent and brutal, and the other half are complaining about how there’s too much drama and less action.

Now, let me tell you one thing. None of us supports violence and murder – we don’t. But The Punisher is a violent ‘hero’ who kills criminals. It’s as simple as that. So, you really can’t say it’s too much brutality when this is what the comic book is based upon. And while more action would have made it better, there is always the need to make a character more human for the audience. If he were going around killing people the entire season, people would have complained that it got boring and repetitive.

So, give it a chance because even though there are flaws in the show, there are some episodes that will blow your mind away. ‘Gunner’, ‘Virtue of the Vicious’ and ‘Home’ being one of those few.

Also, is it just me or does anyone else find Jon Bernthal’s wobbly head a bit distracting?

You can also read my review on IMDb by clicking here. What did you think of the show? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Book Review: Turtles All The Way Down

“… no one ever says good-bye unless they want to see you again.”

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

Rating: 4/5

Warning: This review is full of spoilers.

A lot of people are confused whether they liked this book or expected just a bit more. I have to admit, I was in a similar place. But I will tell you why I rated it with 4 stars.

First of all, we have to talk about Aza and her mental illness. Not only was she a different character, but also one that was extremely difficult to describe. When she was dealing with her anxiety and becoming overwhelmed with the littlest of things, I wasn’t annoyed. I actually understood her character. And that was only because John Green wrote her really well. I was not a big fan of the car accident because it has been overused as a climax in many other stories. But the event was heartbreaking, because at one point, you actually get to see how helpless she becomes when she is forced by her ‘self’ to drink the hand sanitizer.

Moving on to other characters, you have Daisy, a true friend who vented out her frustration of dealing with Aza in a Star Wars fan fiction. She knew about Aza’s mental illness but found herself getting annoyed sometimes. It made her character feel more human and it made me sympathize with both of the friends.

Davis was a character that I liked, but found too good to be true. After reading the book, I found the entire plot with Russell Pickett to be a bit … unattached to the story. It was the only thing that started and ended the main events of the book. Other than that, nothing that happened to him seemed interesting to me.

Once again, I think that this book gives us a very clear idea of how serious mental illness is. I believe that Green did justice to it by elaborating on it repeatedly. I also liked the ending because it allowed us to imagine what to expect for Aza without really saying it.

Turtles All The Way Down is a book that takes a serious issue, and combines it with love and friendship in a perfect balance. John Green wrote Aza with such dedication that you can’t help but hope that she makes it through her spirals.

What did you think of the book? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!