Thursday, March 22, 2007

24. "A Separate Peace" ~ John Knowles

I've complained before about the New England prep school stories... there are just so many of them. Exeter, anyone? "Write what you know" was taken too seriously by several male authors.

This is the first book (other than A Prayer for Owen Meany) that I have adored despite its setting. Perhaps it's because this isn't the typical drivel of cranky professors in musty classroom. It is about boys becoming men under the frightening haze of World War II, particularly what that last year of school is like for 17-year-olds looking at enlistment or the draft.

Of course it's deeper and more meaningful than that. But this is one of those books that resonated with me for several days after completion. I'm not going to spoil it for you here.

4.75 out of 5.0 Graveyard Spirits.

Banned book: "Detractors cite offensive language and sex as dangerous elements in this novel." Whuuut? Methinks thou dost protest too much.


Joy said...

Thanks, Kristin. Looks good.

Nathan said...

We read this one is high school. I had an instructor who like to point out sections that had been cut out to get it in the anthology. One that stuck out in my mind is when the boys are creating rules for their club and, as it appeared in our anthology, one of them is to say your prayers every night. In the actual book I believe the rule reads, say your prayers at night just in case god exists. I guess someone figured that sentence would destroy sixteen years of god propaganda.

Anonymous said...

Seems like Gene was having a battle in his mind in which he accused Finny of motives, only to find the accusation reflected Gene's character, not Finny's. This did not leave him feeling very good about himself. He even dipped into Leper's level of insanity and unbalance when he looked at it head on. That was what he meant by the war held no power to frighten him or mak him hate. He already had faced his enemy, himself in his one dark, twisted moment. He never got to see the truth , even as Finny pronounced in their final conversation. The truth was that everyone has those moments, crAzy and unexplained, of reckless hatred, but not everyone gets caught in the way that will haunt one for life. Gene got caught.


Anonymous said...

Good Job! :)

capizena said...

You don't like boarding school stories? Maan, I live on boarding school stories! I'm planning to do my Ph.D on them!

Needless to say, A Separate Peace is one of my all-time favorites.

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