Glens Falls (NY) Online Book Discussion Group discussion

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Books by Title/Title=topic name > A Separate Peace

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message 1: by John (new)

John | 14 comments I first read this bok when I was in Middle School (only they called it Junior High back then). And it has stayed with me and haunted me ever since.

It is an extremely well written book (along the lines of Gatsby--no unnecessary word, no passage that doesn't ring true) that really pulls you in...


message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6156 comments I really liked it as well, although I don't recall liking the sequel or even what it's name was. I went to a school much like what was described in the book & some of Phineas' pranks spurred some of my own. When you're stuck at a school like that, there just has to be something to relieve the tedium, after all.



message 3: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckymurr) A favorite book of mine. I never read it in school & came upon it as an adult. I have not read the sequel, Peace Breaks Out.


message 4: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jan 17, 2009 03:15PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments I never read _A Separate Peace_ (by John Knowles.)
Thanks, John, for posting about it.

I found a short summary:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"This celebrated novel is about the relationship between two boys at a boarding school during World War II. Gene is a brilliant student; Finney is a great athlete. Jealousy between them builds until Gene's internal battle for identity and security leads to a tragedy that changes both of their lives forever."
From: http://www.glencoe.com/sec/literature...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, I got that far. That's a step. Onward and upward! ~~~~~ A Separate Peace by John Knowles ~~~~~


message 5: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jan 17, 2009 03:25PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments John, I remember now that you said Phineas (Finney) is one of your favorite, memorable literary characters.

You mentioned Phineas in a post at the following topic:
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/8...


message 6: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments I found the following link at the book's Goodreads page:
http://www.shmoop.com/intro/literatur...

The link was in a discussion topic called: "A Separate Peace analysis, themes, trivia, audio, video".

Looks like a great dissection of the book!


message 7: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments The following pdf link brings you to some interesting info re the author John Knowles:
http://www.glencoe.com/sec/literature...

The Goodreads page on him is also interesting. It's at:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/...

It says: "A Separate Peace is based upon Knowles' experiences at Exeter during the summer of 1943. The setting for The Devon School is a thinly veiled fictionalization of Phillips Exeter. The plot should not be taken as autobiographical, although many elements of the novel stem from personal experience."

There's more info there about his friend Gore Vidal who attended Exeter Academy in NH around the same time as Knowles.

Jim, you must relate to all of this, having attended a similar school.


message 8: by John (last edited Jan 19, 2009 08:33PM) (new)

John | 14 comments Thanks Joy for adding some very informative links. They have added to my appreciation of the book. And I agree with you, Jim, the sequel, and other Knowles book, never quite lived up to A Separate Peace. But I think topping A Separate Peace would kind of be like Harper Lee writing a novel more excellent than Mockingbird. Or like Fitzgerald writing something superior to Gatsby. I think there are some books that are just impossible to top...


message 9: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments You're welcome, John. It's fun reading, replying, and adding information to the posts here. The Internet makes it a pleasure. As someone said to me today: "I am always happiest when learning something new."


message 10: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6156 comments Good point, John, about the perfection of the books.

That's got to be tough, having such a fantastic first book. They have so much to live up to. I think that is one of the problems Tennessee Williams had. I've seen too-early, too-big success happen other times in life & it seems to devastate many people.


message 11: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jan 20, 2009 07:36AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim wrote: "I've seen too-early, too-big success happen other times in life & it seems to devastate many people."

Right. There's nowhere to go but down.


message 12: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6156 comments There might only be one direction in the same field, but there are a lot of other fields. Some of the best success stories are people that then went on to another field of endeavor or leveraged their past glory into a new meaning.

For instance, Cal Ripken retired from pro baseball & was instrumental in getting a new stadium built in another area of MD. He started a minor league team there & is doing a lot of stuff with kids. That's far better than moaning for the 'Glory Days' (song by Bruce Springstien) for the rest of your life or vegetating away.


message 13: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim wrote: "That's far better than moaning for the 'Glory Days' (song by Bruce Springstien) for the rest of your life or vegetating away."

That reminds me of Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich who grew old hiding their aged faces from the public. I enjoyed the book, Blue Angel, by Donald Spoto, about the life of Marlene Dietrich. Donald Spoto writes some good biographies.


message 14: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6156 comments Yes, that's sad. They were static people & couldn't move on with their lives as time passed by. I don't particularly care for William Shatner, but he is at least keeping very busy. He reinvented himself & is still very active.


message 15: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Yes, it's amazing how William Shatner has reinvented himself. He reveals a great sense of humor and I always wonder what he'll be up to next.


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