The Chosen by Chaim Potok

The Chosen cover imageSummary: A classic coming-of-age novel about two Jewish teens (one Orthodox, one Hasidic) who meet while playing against one another in baseball and become friends.

There are so many classic novels that I have not read. So many times I read one and wonder why I have not read it previously. No one can read everything, so I have to keep slowly working through the many classic novels I have picked up over time.

There is a reason this is such a beloved novel. It is well-written, and like I mentioned with Esau McCaulley’s memoir, its particularity makes it universal. Most readers are not either Hasidic or Orthodox Jews. And readers today did not grow up in WWII, or the immediate postwar era where the Holocaust was discussed and the potential nation of Israel was debated.

But while the details are different, the potential to follow our own path or follow the expectations of those around us is common. The cultural differences between two different types of Jewish experiences can help illustrate how different experiences between seemingly similar groups work. The closer you are to the inside, the more those differences seem to matter.

This is a young adult novel, but not childish in orientation. I am interested in reading the second book (according to the extras, it was initially written as a single novel but was re-written to be two separate novels before publication.) The second book, The Promise, is about the two main characters, Reuven and Danny, as adults. I also have My Name is Asher Lev, which I will read after I read The Promise.

The Chosen by Chaim Potok Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition, Audiobook

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