Maybe I m bias, but a little bit of bromance could ve gone a long way here A Separate Peace is essentially a story of the relationship between two boys, and if it went a little farther, I think the points it made would ve driven much deeper.The plot mostly revolves around a single character, Finny, and although he s lively and exciting, this story is far from And as such, I can t imagine it being too enjoyable to the middle schoolers and freshmen it is regularly assigned to But for older patient readers, there s plenty to enjoy What it lacks in excitement, it makes up in every other way.The prose, while pretty plain, is beautiful and flows so well it s easy to burn through this book in no time The plot, while simple, has a few shockers and with the story being so short it almost comes off as a page turner Finny is simply one of the funnest, most interesting characters I ve come across And the way John Knowles relates the war to school, and the way the incidents in the story affect Finny s relation to the war and his best friend It s just brilliant. I recently re read this book for the AP class that I m teaching and I was reminded of what a deceptively simple book this appears to be on the surface Set in Devon an all boys prep school during WWII, A Separate Peace explores how the encroaching reality of war affects the psychological and social development of all the boys attending the school The poignant irony of providing these young men with a classics based education at a prestigious school just to be sent into war to kill and be killed effectively shows how, before they even make it to the battlefield, the war cripples them for one physically, for the others psychologically The book focuses on the relationship between Finny, the popular and perfect athlete, and Gene, the intelligent and dangerously introspective one Gene s all consuming envy toward Finny causes him to shake the tree limb both are standing on Finny falls to the ground and breaks his leg The event serves as a metaphor for how Gene s betrayal of the friendship has broken Finny Effective use is made of Finny as a Christ figure and we witness as Gene grows psychologically in response to the realization that he has destroyed not just Finny s athletic career, but also Finny s essence Gene comes to understand that the real enemy is the enemy within and, through Finny, Gene finds a form of salvation from his dark, neurotic tendencies Knowles does so much with setting and imagery in the book that I pick up on something new every time I read it Wonderful novel Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder An American Classic And Great Bestseller For Over Thirty Years, A Separate Peace Is Timeless In Its Description Of Adolescence During A Period When The Entire Country Was Losing Its Innocence To The Second World WarSet At A Boys Boarding School In New England During The Early Years Of World War II, A Separate Peace Is A Harrowing And Luminous Parable Of The Dark Side Of Adolescence Gene Is A Lonely, Introverted Intellectual Phineas Is A Handsome, Taunting, Daredevil Athlete What Happens Between The Two Friends One Summer, Like The War Itself, Banishes The Innocence Of These Boys And Their WorldA Bestseller For Than Thirty Years, A Separate Peace Is John Knowles Crowning Achievement And An Undisputed American Classic Gene attended an exclusive New Hampshire school 15 years later he came back to Devon School to seek forgiveness for what he did here while he was a student In his school days he became friends with Finny, an outstanding athlete Finny was a favorite of everyone fellow students used to look up to him as their inspiration and teachers were mighty impressed with this boy for whatever he said prevailed Gene was a spectacular student academically while Finny s dream was to attend Olympics of 1944 Then one day in accident Finny fell from a tree and broke his legs and with it his Olympic dreams And the story evolved it was revealed that accident that broke Finny s leg might be intentional.Once Finny s back in school, things never get back to normal For one it was WWII and students found themselves to be in difficult situation They wanted to go and yet were hesitating after all to stand right in front of death was not a happy place to be Environment at Devon got suffocating and poisonous with each passing day One can draw the similarities between Devon and America in WWII how the war was effecting the peace and hesitation of Devon and America to jump in the War..But this story stands out in how it describe the suffocation that one felt when they come to realize that the bad that they had done need not to be done The guilt and remorse just eats them out confession would led to losing the love that they so dearly want and crave and yet in the bottom of their heart they know they don t deserve that trust, devotion, and love a beautiful tale of friendship, trust, love, jealousy, and betrayal. I remember viscerally hating this I found it incredibly boring and I don t think anything really happened except a whole bunch of wank about being a moron and running and a paragraph lovingly describing a side character s butt I don t even know.Further, it was for eighth grade English My teacher gave us a quiz on some random detail bits, and I remembered little things like how many years had passed between Point A and Point Boring, and that somehow meant that I wasn t actually UNDERSTANDING the damn book because it is of course impossible to have a sticky memory and still glean deeper meaning from one s reading , so Teacher and Teacher s Pet called me petty for the rest of the day I totally cried when the Pet got in on it, but that was also because that week SUCKED my aunt had died of cancer earlier in the week, and the day of the quiz was when I was leaving around noon to go to her funeral.I never actually review books, I just rant about their associated circumstances Sorry. A Separate Peace by John Knowles A short review because I can t add much to the thousands of reviews that are out there The story takes place at an elite all boy New England prep school The two main characters are opposites in many ways an introverted, intellectual Southern boy and a Northerner who is outgoing, athletic, a risk taker He s a natural leader among the boys but he struggles with his studies They become fast friends but impulsive horse play leads to the death of one of the boys.So it s a male bonding, loss of innocence, coming of age story set just before World War II, when the threat of the draft hangs over all the boys One of the secondary characters is drafted and comes back psychologically wrecked I did not have to read this in high school as many folks did Yet it has a relatively low rating on GR a 3.6 based on than 150,000 GR ratings That s pretty low for a required classic In perusing reviews by others I am struck by how often someone leads off with I hated this book or I loathed this book Maybe because it was required reading LOL Why out of thousands of books out there do we make millions of kids read this one Coincidentally, at about the same time that I was reading A Separate Piece, I also happened to be reading Fitzgerald s This Side of Paradise and I was struck by the similarities between the two male bonding, coming of age but at an elite college instead of a prep school a war and the draft hanging over them WW I for Fitzgerald WW II for the prep school boys Good, but not great I gave it a 3. This is one of those required summer reading novels In fact, while I am sure they are out there, I don t think I have ever met anyone who read this and it was not required for school.But, it was an enjoyable required read Focusing on coming of age, schoolboy friendships, etc Not too much else I can say without spoiling it, but it was kinda rough on the teenage spirit at the time We think we can all survive anything when we are young.If you were never required to read this one for school, it is worth the read Competitors and rivals Best friends There is always one who is outgoing, apt to take risks Here we have one who is comfortable abiding by the rules, the other flagrantly flaunting them What about the one who is pulled along for the ride Is he an unwilling participant or simply someone who needs a push Suspicion and resentment, loyalty and betrayal. I remember this book distinctly because seldom have I hated a book.In addition to being a depressing piece of work, it is about as relevant to kids today as a 45RPM single that s something we had before CDs, boys and girls Why are they still putting it on reading lists What fan of John Knowles has been paying teachers to force this on the kids This book had a profound and lasting impact of me It is a short, exquisitely crafted story narrated by a talented but unconspicuous boy who is jealous of his best friend, Phineas who is athletic, beautiful, and kind Phineas stands tall as the prodigy of American prep adolescence He is simple he is likeable he has panache and he is virtuous His greatest crime to the narrator, though, is his love For though the narrator is jealous and resentful that of his authentic golden boy friend, he cannot even express it because Phineas has always been kind to him That is an elemental frustration, native to adolescence and loneliness, and no book I have ever read has treated that frustration with compassion and justice If novels are supposed to provide beauty and help us understand ourselves, this is perhaps a perfect example incidentally it is highly entertaining, in the sense of being a fantastic story Though not as raw or impassioned as Catcher in the Rye, this book resonates with the same themes and mastery of subject.