Reading this book has given me immense respect for Sidney Poitier and his role in narrowing the racial divide--not that we're finished, but we're leaps beyond where we were, and I do think a large part of that is due to Mr. Poitier.
I loved the passage on page 125,
"If I were asked for an evaluation of myself, I would readily admit to my sins, such as they are, to my weaknesses, my frailties, my shortcomings. I do that all the time, and the reason I can do that and not be ashamed is that I'm willing almost always to try my best. And when I fall short of my reach for something after having tried my best--even when I fall so short that my attempt winds up in sinful behavior--or when my weaknesses tug at my ankles, I accept that. I mean, I accept that failing, but I can't accept my sinfulness, my weaknesses, my frailties unless I've really tried to reach above them."
I would say that the only things I really had a problem with in this book were two things: 1) for being as self respecting as he is, I was often surprised with his frequent use of the "F" word and 2) I had a really hard time with the portion of the book when he discusses leaving his wife because he fell in love with another woman. I know this happens all the time--especially in Hollywood--but I just ached for that woman! I'm now seeing friends of mine going through divorces because their husbands (I'm waiting on seeing any wives do this but I know it happens) fell out of love with them and it truly makes me mad because in most cases, there are young children involved. Don't get me wrong, I will be the first to admit that divorce has its place, but come on! Falling out of love is not something that just happens, it's a choice (sometimes two-party). I was, however, impressed with the stance Mr. Poitier took on his divorce--he in no way glorified it, he showed the rift it put between him and his children, and I think put it in a light where you could see that it was one of the big regrets of his life. Going back to the quoted passage, I think it is one of those flaws he cannot accept but that he is continually trying to move beyond and I appreciated that.
Now onto the next book . . .
"This powerful first novel . . .tells a story of fierce cruelty and fierce yet redeeming love. Both transform the life of Amir, [a] privileged young narrator, who comes of age during the last peaceful days of the monarchy [in Afghanistan], just before his country's revolution and its invasion by Russian forces. But political events, even as dramatic as the ones that are presented in The Kite Runner, are only a part of this story. In The Kite Runner, Kaled Hosseini gives us a vivid and engaging story that reminds us how long his people have been struggling to triumph over the forces of violence--forces that continue to threaten them even today."The Kite Runner is available here or at any major bookstore.