The book is well written and offers an insight into life in Afghanistan, but has very little redeeming value other than that. The first two thirds of the book take one depressing turn after another with no hope in sight. What's worse is that you can't even sympathize with the characters: at their best, they have little personality and are more like punching bags than people. At their worst, they go along with the horrors going on around them. Eventually, the book tries to turn around, but by then it's too late. Quite frankly, I found myself not caring too much what happened to them and not feeling particularly connected.