Saturday, September 11, 2010

Bookish Review: The Chosen

The Chosen by Chaim Potok is the story of two boys growing up in Brooklyn during WWII. Both boys are Jewish but they come from two different sects. They begin the book as enemies, but when one nearly blinds the other in a baseball game, they become fast friends. Both boys have well-respected fathers who have very different methods of raising their sons, but both fathers support the friendship, knowing especially that Danny, the Hasidic (more devout & Orthodox) Jew will need Reuven's support.

Danny's future has been laid out since birth: he will inherit his father's position as Rabbi and will have an arranged marriage. The problem is that Danny is a genius with a love for psychology. He does not want to take his father's place, but his father never speaks to him about anything but the Torah, so he doesn't know how to tell him.

The book is a wonderful picture of what Jewish life was like in America following the Holocaust, as well as a great depiction of a friendship (it follows the boys from childhood through their college graduation). You don't have to be Jewish or know that much about Judaism to understand and enjoy the book--virtually everything is explained. It really is just a great story.

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