Franklin Peach's Reviews > The Chosen

The Chosen by Chaim Potok
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's review
Jan 03, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: own, classic

This is a wonderful story about two boys who befriend each other despite their clash of cultures.

While I enjoyed the story and the excellent way Potok uses a common baseball game and slight tragedy to quickly engage the reader, what I found most delightful was the relationships that were developed between the Boys and their fathers and the respect - even without a relationship - between the fathers themselves. Also even without the story and relationships, the backdrop of Jewish New York city during and immediately after WWII was a great time to see these young men grow up in and I found that I enjoyed seeing that period of history from a Jewish - actually two completely different Jewish - perspectives. The origin of the Jewish State in Israel was not something I spent a lot of time thinking about, and it made a great backdrop to the climax of The Chosen.

I was introduced to the Jewish sect of Hasidim, and to the importance of the Talmud to Orthodox Jews, and to that I am grateful. As a Christian I consider myself a spiritual Jew as God Chose the Jewish people to make His original covenants with. I would like to study Jewish culture and different and opposing sects some more.

If you are considering this book but are not interested in Judaism, please do not let that scare you away. While it is pervasive it is certainly not overpowering nor does it assume any previous religious instruction in either Judaism or otherwise.

Finally this book carries a prominent theme of Education. The two main characters Reuven and Danny become great scholars through hard work and dedication. They each know what they want and where their talent lies even though it may be difficult and have some difficult moral questions that appear as roadblocks at times. All the great characters in this book are well educated. And I suppose it would be difficult to have a great character without a similarly great education.

My only complaint, if it can be one, is that the book is too short. I would have welcomed reading even more detail about Reuven and his relationships with Danny and his father. I would have loved to get a better understanding of the motivations for the conflicts developing in Israel at the time. And the end was a little abrupt.

In the end it was a great story that gave the reader much to think about

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