Monday, May 2, 2011

The Chosen by Chaim Potok

Title: The Chosen
Author: Chaim Potok
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: Worship
Alerts/Warnings: none (although I would definately not give it to child under 12)
Premise: In 1940s Brooklyn, New York, an accident throws Reuven Malther and Danny Saunders together. Despite their differences (Reuven is a Modern Orthodox Jew with an intellectual, Zionist father; Danny is the brilliant son and rightful heir to a Hasidic rebbe), the young men form a deep, if unlikely, friendship. Together they negotiate adolescence, family conflicts, the crisis of faith engendered when Holocaust stories begin to emerge in the U.S., loss, love, and the journey to adulthood. The intellectual and spiritual clashes between fathers, between each son and his own father, and between the two young men, provide a unique backdrop for this exploration of fathers, sons, faith, loyalty, and, ultimately, the power of love.
Opinions: I read this book for the first time when it was assigned for me by my high school english teacher. I vividly remember reading it, and at least once a year since I have reread this book. There is something about the way the story is presented and how it evolves and grows. I think I enjoy it more as a 30 year old than I did as an 18 year old. But it has moved and touched me every time I have read it.
Reuben and Danny start out as enemies, but we learn that even enemies can become friends if you listen to someone else. This book is great if you like analyzing books for themes and motifs, but even if you don't it is an amazing story of being true to yourself, your religion and your inner beliefs.
This is an amazing, amazing, amazing book. Have I said it was amazing? Cause it is.
PS If you've read this or after you do, I have a question for you. Who do you think is the Chosen?

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