The Kite Runner

The Kite RunnerAn emotional story based in Afghanistan about a boy, Amir, and his struggle to live up to his father's expectations. The 12 year old Amir is so determined to win his father's affection that he even turns his back on his best friend Hassan when he sees him being raped by the neighbourhood bully. Amir can't live with his actions and what he did haunts him until he is a grown man. When Rahim Khan, his father's long time friend, asks him to return home, Amir sets on a mission "to be good again" and is determined to make things right this time. I felt this story is told with such passion and it gives a true picture of the lives in Afghanistan. By showing the situation in Afghanistan and Amir's life after he moved to America, this book makes you realize how little you know about this country that you hear so much about. It is beautifully written and I was hooked right away, wanting to know what happens next. It is heartbreaking reading how loyal Hassan was to Amir, only to be betrayed by him. What captured me was that throughout the whole book the author managed to keep my interest the whole time, from the very beginning starting to know about Hassan up until the end finding out how life changed in Afghanistan and what happened to Hassan's son Sohrab. It also contains a surprise factor where in some situations I never expected things to happen that way, this is one thing that makes a book so appealing for me, when the things that happen aren't so predictable. I could read this book all over again and I would enjoy it just as much as the first time.

Lost Boy Lost Girl

A very intriguing story which starts when a woman commits suicide and nobody really knows the reason. At first you get the impression that she was unhappy with her life and her husband didn't do much to help that, but in fact the book goes much deeper than that when her son, Mark, discovers a mysterious house. What he manages to discover in the house reveals a secret that few know and are willing to talk about. His adventure started with a mission, to find the reason behind his mother's death, which he believed had something to do with the house on 3323, Michigan Avenue. The story is told from Tim Underhill's perspective, Mark's uncle, which is a writer and is determined to find out what happened to Mark when he goes missing. Everyone thinks that mark has been yet another victim of the Sherman Park killer, but Tim knows better. This book is full of suspense and I think Straub did a great job at keeping the reader hooked. This was the first book I read by Peter Straub and I will be definitely looking for more books by him. I used to think that Stephen King was the best author for Horror Novels, but Straub certainly matches his abilities, if not outdo him. I liked his style and it was hard putting this one down. The ending was very unexpected, and although some might have been disappointed by it, I enjoyed it and thought it was like a twist to the "and they lived happily ever after" ending. I am very curious to read the books jointly written by Peter Straub and Stephen King and see what they managed to cook up, should be interesting.