A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

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Summary

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them—in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul—they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ulti …more

My Thoughts

you are the noor in my eyes and the sultan of my heart.

One of my favorite things about the books were all the potential quotes I can write out and use. It was so full of wisdom. Lets get into the book then…

This book completely rocked my world. The novel is a fictional work but the historical events are not which makes me think that it is possible that people actually went through what the characters in the book endured.

I felt for Mariam’s character the most because even her happy ending wasn’t really happy. She had a mentally unstable mother who commits suicide, a father who openly rejected her and married her off to a man about 3 times her age. She loses 6 babies and is brutally abused by her husband, she has to tolerate a second wife, eventually kills this man and is put to death. But in the end, she is glad that she is dying the way she is. Her acceptance of her death broke my heart just because I was hoping for some type of miracle at the end. Some kind of escape. I guess the reality that you can endure pain till the end of your life with very few laughter is what truly bothered me. That this can be anyone’s reality. I loved that Laila and Tariq found their way back to each other. With the way the story was going, I wasn’t sure there was going to be a happy ending for her either.

Most of us are very fortunate that we come from or live in nations where war isn’t literally at our back door. Some of us have never or will ever experience the sound of bomb or see the body parts of our loved ones blown to pieces before our eyes. But there are people in certain parts of the world who are not as fortunate, people who don’t rejoice over fireworks because it triggers something in them. I just weep and pray for everyone who has had to endure this type of trauma.

My favorite relationship in the book was between Mariam and Laila. The mother-daughter bond that was voluntary and not fueled by blood. Mariam’s commitment to Laila till the very end is the type of #goals I aspire.
Overall, I liked the book. It was so heavy however. Just one tragedy after the next. But a very well written book. Have you read it?

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Exit West by Moshin Hamid

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image from google images

synopsis 

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whisper …more

My thoughts

This book was a bit underwhelming for me, mainly because I expected the intensity I got from Guapa in this book. I guess this is a reminder that not all books about Arabia (in both books, no specific country was named, but Arabia is kind of inferred) have the same story.

Exit West started out interestingly enough but dulled towards the end. The author in the beginning allowed readers to get to know Saeed and Nadia but still left a few things out that I was hoping to discover about them later, but it never happened. The author in the beginning of the book also seem to invest in their relationship, but again, just left it alone. I was interested in their love story.

I also wish the “door” would have been explained more, I was aware of what “the door” was, but I would have loved to know what actually went into the process, how the migration was till they reached their final destination.

Everything was just presented on a surface level, for example, the lives of refugees in a different country, or Nadia’s decision to wear a hijab but still engage in sex and drugs. For me personally, I think if an author is going to “go there,” they should go all the way. Meaning if you are going to touch on a serious important subject then you should completely explore it. I didn’t feel that Moshin Hamid did that.

Reading the book reviews, I felt that people had strong feelings and connection with this book that I didn’t feel. I’m not sure why I didn’t connect. It just seem so unsettling, well kind of like the life of Nadia, Saeed and other refugees running away from their homeland because of turmoil. I wasn’t too fond of how Moshin foreshadows the end of the story very early on in the book, like, why should I continue to read it if you JUST told me what the end is going to be.

What I do hope for for this book is that many people in the West read it just so they know how it feels like to be a refugee in a foreign country. I think it is important for readers to know that there are people who want to have a very normal life, like Nadia and Saeed that just wanted to go to cafes and sneak around to be together, just normal stuff. But are unable to because of a war torn country and are forced to grow up quickly. It shows how war and surviving can make people miss out on things that most of us take for granted.

small great things by Jodi Picoult book review

small-great-things-hc-400wsynopsis

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African-American, to touch their child. The hospital co …more

My thoughts !!SPOILERS!!

You ever read a good, entertaining, interesting novel that is also educational? rarely are those things compatible. It’s always either, or. But Small Great Things was exactly that. It was well written, well researched, informative, interesting, full of live, relatable characters, there was room for tears, smile, anger, stress, and life. it’s definitely THE book “for such a time as this.” Jodi wrote with such clarity that her message was obvious, and it’s that WE ALL have biases. Whether we know it or not we have them and it is up to us to educate ourselves. I’m just going to go over a few of the topics and some of the characters.

equality vs. equity

I think as a society we’ve preached equality for so long that we think it’s the way to go. That is what sounds fair. I’m not sure if equity is a new concept but I just heard about it in the last few years, may 3 years ago and it was via this picture:

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google images

Jodi Picoult touches on that towards the end of the novel. Where she gives the analogy of a blind child and a  child who can see. She says giving both of them the same coloring book, is equality, but what good does it do the blind child. Equity is when you give the blind child a book in Braille. That is what is fair. It strikes me odd that we have missed that for so many years, and till this day people do not understand.

She also draws attention to the fact that society expecting people who started out late to catch up with those who started early doesn’t make sense. In terms of white americans and black americans, the fact the blacks were slaves for so long and came out of slavery with nothing has held them back, not laziness as people like to insinuate. If someone has had a years of advantage, how can the person who hasn’t catch up? hard work alone will not allow you to catch up. I really hope that is everyone’s take away from this book.

racism

I really liked how Jodi explained racism. Racism isn’t only about overt hatred but it is institutionalized. I don’t think many people understand that concept. Institutional racism is when the system is set up in a way that non-white americans are not able to be successful or thrive.

ruth

Ruth reminded me of so many black women that I know personally. The ones that thrive at their jobs, skill wise, but not in an official status. Ruth was passed up for promotion even though she had seniority and many sang her praises, this displays the reality of so many black americans. Ruth is one of those women who do everything in their power to not appear like the stereotypical black woman. Many suppress their feelings of frustration and rightful emotions because they do not want to appear to be the “angry black woman.” Anytime a black woman expresses themselves they are called angry and bitter. This has caused many women to be silent. I think that’s why Ruth NEEDED to testify even though she knew it was going to hurt her case.

Turk

Oh Turk! what stood out to me about him was his awareness that his hatred wasn’t valid but forced himself to believe that it was. Also what stood out to me was how he learned that he can’t be overtly racist anymore so he hid behind being normal and acting normal. He said that this new tactic of blending in with the community was more powerful than going out and being openly racist. Because the fear of people not knowing made them more powerful.that is wild. I think most people know that white supremacist live amongst them but because they are so normal and shop at he same groceries stores as everyone else, we don’t really see them for who they are. That is indeed more scarier than people who are overtly racist.

What was HILARIOUS was finding out the Turk’s wife was half-black! That really made the book so much fun. It was a twist I wasn’t expecting.

Adisa, Rachel

Rachel is the opposite of Ruth and she is one of those people who don’t really care about fitting in or pleasing white americans. But in a way her ways are a little bit unhealthy. She makes literally EVERYTHING about race. The changing of names is something I have never really understood, many “conscious” black americans feel the need to adopt  “african” sounding names and I just don’t get it. Also the fact that she associate all “good things” with white amercians was a bit problematic. Her thoughts about Ruth’s way of living as her wanting to be white didn’t sit well with me, because it seem like all ruth wants was a better life for her and her son, especially. The truth is, in many black communities drugs and crime are higher than in white communities, so not wanting to have a child around that is understandable. it is a sad reality but understanding

Kennedy

Kennedy is one of those well-meaning white americans who take pride in really making a difference in the community.  I think like most people from various ethnicity, Kennedy didn’t really see or understand what it really means to be black in America. I like how she mentioned trying so hard to show that she wasn’t racist. I really liked her trip with Ruth to the store to go shopping. On her own, she realized how something as simple as shopping is different for her and Ruth. Kennedy REALLY showed her good intentions by learning on her own, opening her eyes, and not pretending racism doesn’t exist. I think that’s the attitude we all need to adopt. the willingness to learn and quit pretending that we don’t have some biases.

One of my favorite bits of the book was the court proceeding. I’ll never want to do litigation but I really love it!

Longest review EVER!! Have you read the Small Great Things? What did you think?