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The Kite Runner

I have waited awhile to read this. I tend to resist the big frenzies around books, especially when they are made into movies. But I wanted to read it before the movie came out, so I finally have.

The Kite Runner is tragic, insightful, and beautiful. One of the things I enjoyed most about my university degree is that through the lens of literature, we are exposed to many other things. In The Kite Runner, we see politics, history, psychology, anthropology, and so much more!

The only thing that left me a bit sad was actually a pivotal moment in the book. Essentially, the story is about making things right, atoning for sins and the mistakes of adolescence. In a letter written to our now-adult hero, his father's best friend writes

And this is what I want you to understand, that good, real good, was born out of your father's remorse. Sometimes, I think everything he did, feeding the poor on the streets, building the orphanage, giving money to friends in need, it was all his way of redeeming himself. And that, I believe, is what true redemption is, Amir jan, when guilt leads to good. (emphasis mine)
No. That is not what true redemption is. That is atonement - trying to make right your wrongs. Redemption is when you are freed from the burden of being unable to atone for sins.

I haven't read Atonement (by Ian McEwan), but I have a feeling that the main difference between the two books is that in Kite Runner, Amir suffers greatly and is able to make reasonable restitution, but in Atonement, Briony is haunted by her inability to ever do enough good to balance the bad.

I think this would be a fascinating comparison for a book club, because it is decidedly relevant to each one of our lives. We all do wrong. We all make mistakes. And then we choose: do we attempt to atone ourselves? Or do we admit defeat and take the offer of redemption? Personally, this choice is not as easy as it seems. Although redemption seems the obvious choice, atoning certainly has its appeal - the idea of earning, making things right by my own efforts...being able to rely on myself. Allowing someone else to redeem me means admitting my utter defeat. And that is never something I like to do.

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