Within the first hundred pages of THE KITE RUNNER I threw up once and cried twice. Needless to say, this novel is both tragically horrific - to the point where I felt physically ill - and sad. Hosseini's debut is easily one of the most renown books of the decade, but it left me feeling rather disappointed. I can't deny that Hoseini's sparse, sharp prose is riveting, or that his subtle command over language and history is gripping. THE KITE RUNNER provides those rare glimpses into Afghani life that we've both feared and yearned for, and it does so beautifully. Yet, best of all, the absolute gray matter in this book is stunning. Nearly every character is torn, hovering between that line of good and evil which I loved. Nevertheless, this book is flawed - something the masses of starred reviews refuse to admit. For one, I found that many key characters - notably the hero and villain of the story - were too stereotypically good and bad. In a novel of grays, these stark black and whites stood out, in the most unfortunate way. Beyond them, though, our narrator, Amir, is a difficult character to like. I cannot go into much depth about Amir without revealing the crux of this story, but suffice to say that his ultimate redemption was unsatisfying. It felt forced rather than genuine and much of the impact of his actions seemed to be lessened by the fact that this father was revealed to also be a dishonorable man. THE KITE RUNNER is a beautiful and shocking piece of literature, one that certainly deserves to be read and reflected, but I'm sorry to say that it isn't the picture of perfection it is painted to be. Ultimately, I fear hype and my expectations ruined this book from becoming a favorite, but its impression on me is lasting and fulfilling, no doubt about that.