The Chosen by Chaim Potok
On the library stacks: Adult Fiction/YA Classics
AR Reading Level: 6.6
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the story of two Jewish boys growing up in Brooklyn in the mid-20th century. Danny is a Hasidic Jew and his father is a powerful and respected rabbi. Reuven is a Modern Orthodox Jew whose father wants him to be a mathematician, but he secretly wishes to be a rabbi. The two clash at a baseball game, that is more a religious war than anything else, but they ultimately end up as best friends.
In a relatively short novel, Potok manages to capture so much about Judaism in the 1940s, incorporating World War II, the emergence of details regarding the Holocaust, and Zionism. Interwoven with this historical backdrop we read of the intensely personal issues between Danny, Reuven, and their fathers. Perhaps most interesting to me was the blend of admiration and distaste the different families felt about the way each other practiced their faith.
My book club read this book last month and it made for a great discussion. This is my second book by Potok and I think he's a fantastic writer, although I did think the beginning of this book dragged a little. However, I loved the way Potok portrayed all of the relationships between the characters. This novel is already on the classics shelves for good reason and will not be easily forgotten.
9 hours ago