Book review: A Thousand Splendid Suns

The review: 

A Thousand Splendid Suns. That’s the title of this book, and incredibly uninformative to the story inside. Contained in this book is an incredible mixture of emotions – survival, hope, fear, anger, and helplessness. As I tore through the pages, I was on the edge of my seat (and quite possible sweating at various points). This book is a love story, a war story, and a tale of current events. Hosseini’s writing style always entertains me. He provides an incredible balance between pace and character development, often demonstrating his talent in intersecting and concurrent story lines. A grounding reality of life for thousands of women in this world, without the Orientalist, accusatory, or blatant generalizations of people within the culture that happen all too often in novels with similar story lines.

The musings:

 As an American, we often see these stories dramatized in the media and have one of two responses: 1) we’re absolutely horrified at these barbaric creatures and their treatment of women and then do nothing, or 2) we double down on what we can do to save these women. The odd thing is, the way we go about saving women.

Domestic violence is a huge, complicated, and incredibly sensitive issue. It exists everywhere. No, this isn’t the only focus of the entire book. It is definitely my focus point for the musings. 

Really, how do you save women? A lot of people begin by bashing Islam. First, neither of these women in this story believe that Islam is the cause of their plight. I would have a hard time believing that too, especially if one views that absolute progressive qualities that were enshrined in the Qur’an in regards to the legal rights of women. These progressive ideas often are carried further into modern Islam by the scholars who interpret religious laws for current situations.

Other people try to figure out how to extradite the suffering women to the West. This is where I get really confused. Two out of every three females killed in a homicide in the U.S. are killed by a family member or domestic partner. Over 4 million women in the U.S. have been raped by their spouses. What are these women going to escape from, when we have the same problem here? I’m going to reference a biblical piece of advice: “remove the rod from your eye before you try to remove a speck from your brother’s.”

Do I have a solution? No, I can only plead with every one of you who reads this to keep an eye open on your loved ones and neighbors. If you hear, see, or even just sense something is out of place – speak up. Don’t let silent cries go unheard in a matter of life or death.


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