I had made a goal during the Fall to get some books read. It has felt so good to be back to doing some reading again. One of the books I read was A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I didn't read Hosseini's first book and I found I didn't need to to enjoy his Thousand Splendid Suns.
The story follows two Afghan young women, Mariam and Laila, that grow into adulthood.
The first character we really get to know is Mariam. Her life, you find, from the very beginning is not the life you would wish for any young girl. Her mother doesn't offer her love in a way that a child can easily understand. Her father who visits her on a fairly regular basis gives her a superficial love that Mariam mistakenly desires over her mother's. Her only true friend is the Mullah who visits Mariam and teaches her prayers from the Koran.
The second character, Laila, on the other hand has a better, yet not perfect, childhood. She has a father that dotes on her while her mother morns the loss of her two sons to war. Laila also has a childhood friend, Tariq, who gives Laila the drive to go on in the face of hardship.
For me, of the two characters, Mariam was the most interesting one. She endured so much pain, so many lost dreams only to find love in an unlikely friendship. I found it amazing to read what the human spirit will endure. Just last week in an email from a sweet friend she said that she thought "We are never more powerful than we are in this life...when we have power to make independent decisions and to experience their consequences."
Through this novel Mariam and Laila made decisions that helped them in getting through their circumstances. They took control of their attitude and their circumstances and then experienced the consequences of those decisions, good or bad or better.
This is a moving story of "how every Afghan story is marked by death and loss and unimaginable grief. And yet...people find a way to survive, to go on."
Reading A Thousand Splendid Suns, as odd as it may sound, was motivational for me.
It was reassuring.
It reminded me that I have been blessed.
I haven't been called to endure what Mariam or Laila had to endure. I've been called to my own circumstances and I can find a way to survive them and to go on, as well.
I highly recommend this book. It's a "can't miss" read.