The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini was on the NYT bestseller list for a while. It has also been made into a film, which is banned in Afghanistan. Ironically, the country that began the war against the Taliban has some citizens who want to follow their lead. The novel also managed to make the ALA's top ten list for banned books in 2008.
The Kite Runner involves a violent act of sodomy, an act which brings up issues of cowardice and loyalty, setting up the novel's themes of oppression and perversion.
The Okaloosa County School Board in Florida received a request from a parent to remove the book. (Story here). Parents apparently do have the right to request a substitute book (an excellent policy, I think) but the parent doesn't feel that's enough- they don't want any high schooler in the district reading it.
Have you ever read a series of books that marked a period in your life? This book was part of such a pile.
Thoreau said: "How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book!"
I must write the reader's favorite cliche: I just couldn't put it down.
When I think of this novel, I remember being bundled up in bed with a hot water bottle and a mug of tea. At the time, I didn't have any heat in my house and it was freezing. What I did have was a pile of library books.
The Kite Runner does exactly what a good novel should do: disturbs, enlightens, grabs the emotions. I cried, I got angry, I was disgusted.
A student from the school said it best:
“This is like the real word. This is what goes on in other countries and it really opens your eyes with the war.”
In fact, the book is only read at the Senior level and in the 10th Grade AP classes- this parent's son was in the 9th grade.
The book was not "forced" on her child at all--in fact most public schools will allow parents (or students) to choose another book.
The parent found out that older kids are allowed to read the book because the school let parents know that two of the curriculum's books (the other was To Kill A Mockingbird) contained mature language and themes and that if parents objected they were allowed to substitute another book.
The school didn't force anything on this kid. They gave this parent the oppurtunity to exercise authority over her own child. Her position is that no high schooler should read it- but that's not her call to make.