I just finished reading this book a few minutes ago, and I'm left gasping in the feeling of it still. I've seen the movie, and I'm glad that the movie captured the book so faithfully. Even so, the book is immensely better. It's just one of those amazing books that's so well-written and so pure and real that you can feel yourself expanding as a person painfully at the seams while reading it. It's extremely powerful in an understated way, as all my favorite books seem to be.
I love the characters of Baba, Hassan, and Rahim Khan. They're drawn with so much reality and love; they're all three heartbreakingly wonderful people. I feel so sad for Afghanistan, for how much the country has suffered these last 3 decades. I just want healing to come soon, please. I hope what we're doing there can help more than it hurts. I long to earn some vast fortune so I can give it to the CAI and other groups working for a happy future in Afghanistan. Reading this so soon after "Stones into Schools", with its own cast of utterly amazing Afghans, makes me feel that way even more.
I don't know how to describe how this book has changed me, but one thing I did do while reading it was go and hug my son and tell him that I love him beyond all imagining, that I wanted to be sure he knew, and I wanted that truth never to get lost amid the mundane details of you-have-a-dentist-appointment-today and come-lets-take-grandma-some-dinner and don't-forget-to-put-the-dishes-in. It made me regret and resent that I ever have to be firm with him or instruct him in things he'd rather not learn. I would so much rather just spend the precious fleeting time we have together in shared laughter, fun, and joy. After all, we get so little time with our loved ones before we or they are gone. Why waste a single instant on anything less important?
I know just how Amir feels as he kneels to pray for his nephew's life. I'm well acquainted with that deep well of redemption from which he drinks. This story feels so true to me that I'd be astonished to find out it's not almost completely autobiographical. It's made me realize anew just how much each human person is a deep pool of unknown and unknowable history, emotions, thoughts, and experiences. It kindled fresh humility in me, and awe at these marvels we're given in life, these profound mysteries of each other that we can never fully understand but only glimpse from time to time and lose our hearts to forever.