The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini usually makes the banned list because it has a rape in it. To make it worse, as if rape can get worse, it is a rape of a boy at the hands of older boys (roughly men). Now, if you’re like me you’re wondering something. One of the arguments that the anti-gay marriage far right group (no, I don’t mean Republicans; I mean far right people who are against gay marriage for the following reason) is that we will all be gay afterwards. I’m not quite sure how this would work. Perhaps there is a gay making ray. (I also read an argument that homosexuality started when Adam slept with his brother. I’m not really sure where the brother came from). The other argument that such an anti-gay marriage movement is that homosexual men (and it’s always men, not women) are one step removed from pedophiles. I’m not sure how this belief came about, but there it is.
I blame the ancient Greeks myself.
We, of course, know that such arguments are incorrect and homophobic on so many different levels. But if a person who believes such statement would undoubtedly find this book, at least superficially, supportive of such statements. (This is not to suggest that Hosseini is homophobic or even suggesting that there is such a connection. I’m just saying that such a group might see it this way. Hosseini sounds like a great guy). But, nope, usually these groups want this book pulled because of the rape.
I could understand, perhaps, if the book was read pre-high school. But it’s not. In fact, it seems to be used primarily in junior and senior year. I don’t really understand it. Considering the statistics concerning rape at college campus, I would think frank discussions about intercourse would be desired. But I’m not a parent, so what do I know. (Apparently, little because Speak which deals with the issue is also banned and challenged on a similar level).
I have mixed feelings about the Kite Runner. I enjoyed it, but I can understand the criticism that some level at for being what an American wants an Afghani book to be. Yet, because the book deals with friendship, the loss of friendship, and the reclaiming of what is right, it is a book that should be read. Perhaps such an outcome is simplistic. We always want to put things right, but how often do we really get the chance to right the wrongs that we have done? (And we have done wrongs). Yet, the Kite Runner is a little more complicated than that – the wrong isn’t fully righted. No wrong can be. Perhaps that is the danger that would be removers fear – the truth that things are never fully what we wish.
But that is the power of the novel.