Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Another Book & Movie to Cross Off

Yesterday, when re-capping all that I'd crossed off the 101 List in 2011, I forgot a movie for #30 - Watch 26 movies starting with each letter of the alphabet. Not sure how I forgot it, since I'd been dying to see it and loved every second of it once I saw it on Saturday afternoon. It's my "D" movie - Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights. For obvious reasons, I'd been wanting to see it since I returned from Cuba.
(I promise, I'm going to stop talking about Cuba some day soon!)

It's no original Dirty Dancing. To even try to compare it would be unfair. Not even a cameo by Patrick Swayze as the dance instructor at the hotel in Cuba could bring it the magic of the original.

But the music was hot. The dancing was fun. The story had a touch of history, as it took place on the eve of the Revolution. And it was pretty cool to pick out landmarks and places I remembered from our trip into Havana.

And it also made me wonder why I never found any Cuban boys quite as sweet & charming as Javier. ;)

I also have my second book to cross off for the year for #19 - Read 10 books in one year. The book club I'm in had selected The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini for our first book of 2011, and I wasn't sure how long it would take me to read it, so I wanted to get it started well before the end-of-February meeting date.

As it turned out, a whirlwind week of being completely enthralled by the story, and I was done it. I don't think I've read a book so quickly since Twilight! But it wasn't a feel-good story. In fact, it was quite a sad one. I expected this, as I read Hosseini's other acclaimed novel A Thousand Splendid Suns. I was prepared for the gut-wrenching horror, the sadness, the fear, and that sick feeling in my stomach as I thought to myself, This stuff really happens. These kids in Afghanistan really go through this.

It's an eye-opener. It's easy to forget about the terror in war-torn countries like Afghanistan, because they are just so far away. I sometimes find it easier to just turn a blind eye.

But Hosseini brings the reality of present-day Afghanistan closer to home. He puts a spotlight on their plight. In this novel, he does so by telling the story of Amir, a young Afghan boy who treats his servant boy, Hassan, quite badly, and feels guilt for it for years, knowing how Hassan always stuck up for him, but he turned his back on him in his hour of need.

As Amir grows into a man and moves to America with his father when political upheaval tears their homeland apart, he can never forget Hassan, the servant boy who was his only true friend. It isn't until Amir is married and his father long gone that he begins to find out secrets that his father kept from him, and he returns to Afghanistan to try to right the wrongs he committed against Hassan.

It's a moving novel, and Hosseini is a brilliant story-teller. I literally couldn't put it down, and when I finally forced myself to bed, I'd have trouble sleeping because I couldn't stop thinking about it. It was a heavy read, and I'm a little relieved it's over now.

I can't wait to see how everyone else feels about it at Book Club in a few weeks!

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