Marni's Reviews > The Chosen

The Chosen by Chaim Potok
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Jan 01, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: 2010, historical, leadership, own-it, parenting, religious
Read in October, 2010

This is the third time I've read this, and I'm sure I got a lot more out of it this time.

It was interesting to look at the parenting styles and compare them to myself and other parents I know. I tell myself all that time that I talk too much. Maybe I need to use "I'm sure you'll figure it out on your own" more often, or remember that they really aren't listening to my lectures, no matter how well thought out and delivered they are. Not saying I'm adopting the silent treatment - I love the cozyness of Reuven's relationship with his father - but there are definitely times when less is more. I appreciated that when Reuven came home late after being out with Danny, that rather than launching into a tirade, he respectfully asked him to call next time he was going to be late (145).

I enjoyed the lessons on friendship. From Danny's father, "I am telling you to make him your friend and to let him make you his friend" (74). It's a different choice to allow someone to be your friend than it is to be their friend. Also, continuing to be a friend even when it's difficult.

It's interesting how the history affects the story. The "history" is an ocean away, but at the same time, they are in the middle of it.

A few favorite quotes:
"Reuven, as you grow older you will discover that the most important things that will happen to you will often come as a result of silly things, as you call them--'ordinary things' is a better expression. That is the way the world is" (110).

"I don't understand it," I said. "Weeks and weeks go by, one Shabbat follows another, and I'm the same, nothing has changed, and suddenly one day something happens, and everything looks different" (111).

"You can listen to silence, Reuven. I've begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has quality and a dimension all its own. It talks to me sometimes. I feel myself alive in it. It talks. And I can hear it."
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