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The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner


by Khaled Hosseini

Analysis: Sex Rating

Exactly how steamy is this story?


In Chapter 13, Amir tells us: "Later that night, the sun less than an hour from rising and the guests finally gone, Soraya and I lay together for the first time. All my life, I'd been around men. That night, I discovered the tenderness of a woman" (13.31). This is very sweet, but not raucous and sultry. There's also some adultery outside the narrative scope of the book, but Hosseini never directly describes it. So why the R rating?

We're actually hesitant to even call the incident in the alleyway "sex." Abuse is really a better term. The same goes for the terrors that Assef and his guards put Sohrab through. Hosseini describes the alleyway rape scene explicitly, and he also describes the pedophiliac Assef touching Sohrab. Then there's the near-rape of the Afghan woman by the Russian soldier. We don't want to give this one an "R" rating on sex (we'd much rather say these are violent scenes) but we also have a duty, as the Shmoop Ratings Commission, to warn you about them. We guess this book has extreme perversions of sex, but there's not that much actual lovemaking.

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