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The Student News Site of East Haven High School

The Comet

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HONEY BOOKS: A Thousand Splendid Suns

Logo by Isabella Balsiero
Logo by Isabella Balsiero

“In a few years, [Mariam] will be a woman who will make small demands on life, who will never burden others, who will never let on that she too has had sorrows, disappointments, dreams that have been ridiculed. A woman who will be like a rock in a riverbed, enduring without complaint, her grace not sullied but shaped by the turbulence that washes over her.”

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Khaled Hosseini

Historical Fiction

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★★★★★

Spoiler warning!

A Thousand Splendid Suns is the story of two generations of women brought together by the tragedies of war-torn Afghanistan 1990s. Part one of the book tells the devastating childhood story of Mariam, a girl born out of wedlock to her wealthy father Jalil, and his housekeeper, Nana. Following the death of her mother, Mariam gets married off by Jalil to an abusive, much older man named Rasheed. The second part of the novel tells the story (also devastating, might I add) of teenager Laila, Mariam’s neighbor. Laila is the daughter of a former teacher known as Babi and Mammy, a bipolar woman heavily affected by the loss of her sons. The last two parts of the book follows the lives of Mariam and Laila over the next ten years as they work together to find happiness.

I never personally like books I have to read for school but this one I loved. It’s fast-paced, which is something I enjoy a lot. All of the twists, although sad ones, keep you engaged. Not only does the plot keep you engaged but so does the writing. It flows very well. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone with this much talent at writing. I found it easy to follow along but not too complicated (in regards to figurative language) to understand. I also don’t personally like historical fiction that much but this book is an exception. I think it’s because most historical fiction I’ve read for school is usually about WWII and takes place in Europe or America. This one, however, follows a country and time period I’ve never read about and was written by someone who actually lived there. Overall, I was just completely out of my reading comfort zone and I’m pleasantly surprised that it was actually a really good book.

I’m not sure if there is one character I particularly loved-but that was intentional. Maybe Laila, Mariam or Babi. Babi was extremely kind and caring and did not deserve the ending he got. Laila and Mariam showed true strength, specifically Mariam. There are definitely numerous characters I have extreme hatred for. Of course, they were intended to be hated. For one, I absolutely wanted Rasheed to die throughout the entire book. Some people have empathy for him but I have absolutely none. He deserved no happiness and did in fact deserve every piece of misery he endured. He was just a terrible person. I also somewhat hated Mammy, Laila’s mother. Although, I have some empathy for her considering what she went through, unlike Rasheed. She had a mental disorder and often tried to make up for her mistakes, but in the end she was never there for her daughter and often verbally abused and manipulated her own husband. Jalil was on my list of characters I hated for a while, too, but he got his redemption in the end. The worst thing he did was marry off his daughter and he did realize what he did was terrible in the end. That being said, I think it just shows a good writer to make me hate some characters so much.

I feel as if there isn’t much to dislike about this book besides the characters, which you’re meant to hate. Some people might not like how fast-paced it is, but I do. I could also see people not liking it because it is extremely sad. Every chapter at least another terrible thing happens to the protagonists. However, this isn’t something I hated at all. Do I wish these things didn’t happen to the characters? Absolutely. But, would there be a book without these plot points? Probably not. All in all, I loved it and have nothing negative to say. The writing was great, the plot was great, and the characters were too.

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About the Contributor
Emilee Gargano, Features Editor
The Features Editor for the 2022 - 2023 school year.
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