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AThousandSplendidSunsbyKhalidHossenini

AThousandSplendidSunsbyKhalidhosseinifollowsthelivesoftwowomenlivingin
AfghanistanfrombeforethesovietstookcontroluntilafterTalibanrule(Untiltheyear2003).
ThesovietsenteredAfghanistanafteratreatyof"friendship"wassignedbetweenMoscowand
Afghanistan.AllwaswellandAfghanistanbecamedependentonitspartner,untilOctober
1979.Thepeacebetweenthetwowasdisturbedbyafghanistan'sleaderatthetime,Hafizullah
Amin,wouldnottakethesovietsadviceonhowtorunhisgovernment.ByDecemberofthat
yearthesovietsdecidedtoturnonits"friend"andattacksbrokeoutinKabul.Thisfightingdid
notenduntil1989whenthesovietswithdrewfromAfghanistan.Duringthetenyearsofwar
overamillionafghanslosttheirlives,alongwith14,500soviets.Thiscivilwardidnotendyet
duetofightingwithinAfghanistan'sgovernment.Theywentthroughmanyshiftsinpower
includingcontrolbyNajibullah,Gen.AbdulRashidDostamandhismilitia,andfinallythe
mujahidintookcontrolofKabulandthecentralgovernment.Yetthewarstilldidnotend,
continuingwiththefightingbetweenmilitias.Wheneffortstocontrolthepeopleandresolve
peacefailedin1992byaPeshawarbasedmujahidingroup,fightingamongthepeople,chaos,
andlackofconsistentleadershipcontinueduntil1996whentheTalibanstookcontrolofKabul
andby1998about90%ofthecountry.Thisnewruledestroyedallofpastculture,tookaway
tonsofthepeoplesfreedom,andgaveverylittlerightstowomen.Thisharshtreatmenttotheir
peoplecausedforeigncountriestogetinvolvedwiththem,includingtheUSduetoterrorism.
Withharshrulethatinvolvedveryharshpunishmentforcrime,growingupandjustlivingin
thesetimeswasadailystruggle.(HistoryofNations)
AThousandSplendidSunsfollowsthestoriesoftwodifferentAfghanwomen,Mariam

andLaila,andthestruggleofgrowingupbeingawomeninsuchanunstabletime.Mariamis
theillegitimatedaughterofarichcinemaownerwhocomestovisitheronlyonceaweekather
randownhousewithhermother.Mariamfavorsherfather,despitehermother'swarningsabout
himnotcaringaboutherasmuchashisotherchildren,andrunsawaytobewithhimafteryears
oflongingtolivelikeoneofhisotherchildren.Hermotherwarnsherifsheleavesherthatshe
willdie,andwhenMariamdoesleaveshefindshermotherhaskilledherselfwhenshereturns.
Mariammustgoandlivewithherfatherandhismultiplewivesandchildren,butissoontoldshe
isbeingmarriedofftotheshoemaker,Rasheed.Reluctantlyshegoesandliveswithhim,tofind
heisnotaverykindofgentleman.Lailaisaverybeautifulgirlwholiveswithhermotherand
father,butdespitebeingtheonlychildleftinthehouse,livesintheshadowofherbrothers.
LailahasoneveryclosefriendinhertownnamedTariq,aoneleggedboywholivesnextdoor.
Notonlyaretheybestfriends,butLailaisinlovewithhim.WhenLialashouseisstruckdown
inabombing,sheisfoundbyRasheedandtakenin.Thiscausesthetwogirlslivestointertwine,
sincetheyarenowlivingunderthesamerood,andMariamdoesnotlikeit.Lialaisonly
fourteen,butisbeautifulcausingtheagedRasheedtotakealikingtoher,espicallysinceMariam
cannothavechildren.RasheedplanstotakeLialaasawifeorhewillnotletherstaywiththem
andLialaagreesafteramangiveshernewsthatTariq,alongwithhisfamily,hadbeenkilled.
RasheedmarriesLialaandnowheandhistwowiveswillliveunderthesameroof.Thewomen
mustlearntogetalongtosurviveinaworldthathasseemedtoturnagainstthem.Theymust
conquertheharshruleofthegovernment,Rasheed,andtheirownfate.Thisexcitingand
emotionalstoryportraysthebooksthemesofhowharshwomen'sliveswereinAfghanistan,
equality,andhumansphysicalandemotionallimitsinanattentionholdingway.

AsshownthroughthestrugglesMariamandLailaendurebeingawomeninAfganistan
wasnotaneasylife,anditisnotsomethingIwouldwanttohavetolivethrough.Oneofthe
charactersmakesthepointthatawomenatthattimemustlearntoendurerathertoliveand
exceed,andIwouldneverwanttoliveinaworldwithsuchrestrictionsandsimplyexisting.
LivinglifetothebestdegreeIcanliveittooissomethingIreallystrivetodo,Iwouldn'twantto
beshelteredandmissoppertunitiesliketheAfghanistanwomenarewhentheTalibanforbid
themfromleavingthehousewithoutamanaccompanyingthem.Ialsodon'tthinkit'sfairthat
womenhadsofewrightsatthistime,liketheycouldn'tdresshowtheywanted,gowherethey
wanted,andwerecompletelycontrolledbyamannomatterhowawfulhewastoher.Itiscray
tothinkthatyouwouldhavetostaywithapersonwhowashurtingyou.Livinglikethose
womenhadtolivetodayisunthinkableinsuchaequal,modernsocietyanditissomethingI
wouldneverwanttohavetogothrough.
Afterfinishingthenovel,Iwouldrateita4.5outof5,thebookwasfantastic!Itheldmy
attentiononceitgotgoing,whichwasmyonlycomplaintsinceIdon'tcareforbackgroundeven
thoughitsimportant,andwasaveryemotionallyinvolvedbook.Theauthorreallymadeyou
understandthepainthecharacterswentthrough,likewhenLailaandAzezewerelockedina
roomwithnofoodandwaterandLailafearedforherdaughterslifeyoucriedandfearedforher
becauseitwassorealandsoscarybecausethesethingscouldhavehappenedtorealpeople!
AnotherexampleofthestorybeingveryemotionalwaswhenMariamcontinuedtohave
miscarriages,thatreallymademeupset.Theauthorbuildsyouupforsuchhighhopesthather
lifeisgoingtogetbetterandthingshappenforareason,anditdoesn'tworkout.Tohearofhow
manytimesshetriedtohaveachildandjustcouldn'twassosadbecausesheknewifshehad

oneshewouldbehappyandcontentwithherpast,butshecouldn'tletitgo.Inormallydonot
likereadingatallbutIkeptfindingmyselfwantingtoreadmoreinsearchofsomethinghappy
andgoodtohappentoacharacter,whichIreallyenjoyed.Iwouldrecommendthisbookto
anyonewhoislookingforagoodinterestingread.

Citations
"HistoryofNations."HistoryofAfghanistan.N.p.,2005.Web.31May2013.

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