Monday, February 3, 2014

Review: The Chosen

The Vitals

The Chosen by Chaim Potok
Release Date: 12 April 1987
Page Count: 304
Genre: Historical Fiction
Target Audience: Young Adult
Series: No
Source and Format: Purchased; Paperback

Summary (From Goodreads)
It is the now-classic story of two fathers and two sons and the pressures on all of them to pursue the religion they share in the way that is best suited to each. And as the boys grow into young men, they discover in the other a lost spiritual brother, and a link to an unexplored world that neither had ever considered before. In effect, they exchange places, and find the peace that neither will ever retreat from again...

Notes on The Chosen
This is the first book I taught this semester. It is a coming of age story about two Jewish boys, one Orthodox and one Hasidic. It takes place during WWII, which is one of my favorite time periods. Since it is written from an American-Jewish perspective, it delves into issues of the Holocaust and the formation of Israel from a Jewish point of view. Potok has a very matter fact writing style. Several of my students were a bit disappointed that the story is so focused on the boys and their schooling; the novel does not spend a lot of time focusing on their free time. It is a really great, short book that focuses on the importance of family, friends, religion, and schooling.

Chief Complaint
As I mentioned above, the story is focused on the boys' schooling and Talmudic studies. There are not very many secondary characters at all; the ones who are there are gone by the middle of the book. It sounds like the book would be boring because of this, but I promise that it is not!

Get A Second Opinion

  • Kaz at Books Anonymous - "If you've never read Potok, The Chosen is a good first book to start with...and then you can hunt down the sequel!!"
  • Sharon at Gently Mad - "The Chosen is a gripping, powerful novel that had me coming back again and again to see how Danny and Reuven’s lives were going to turn out...I highly recommend this classic to everyone."

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