The Chosen by Chaim Potok
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Chosen is part of a trend of older books that are now retroactively considered YA, just because the protagonist himself is a young adult. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Like Lord of the Flies and Ender's Game, I think calling The Chosen YA is quite a stretch since it deals with very adult themes-like friendship over faith, and vice versa-that teenagers today might not find interest in. And it's not that I'm not giving today's generation of teenagers enough credit. I definitely think they can handle and absorb the material. It's just that I think you have to be a bit older to even find interest in something like this. I definitely wouldn't give one of my students this book after they just read something like The Hunger Games or The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It represents a different time that they probably couldn't even relate to. Quite frankly, they'd be bored silly.
There, now that I got THAT out of the way. The Chosen, as a whole, is a relatively slow and lopsided book. There are times, namely in the first and last 50 pages of this book, that I was absolutely in love with. Especially the ending, which is a great payoff and a beautiful conclusion. But there is a great deal in the middle that feels very methodical, and it's mainly since the conflict isn't really much of a conflict. Sure, it feels that way to the characters in the book, who are both Jewish (one is more hardcore than the other) but to the reader, I kind of just sat there waiting for everything to blow up or come to a head. And it never does! I can now understand why this was a best-seller when it initially came out but has since lost quite a bit of its reputation. I never even heard of it before my dad lent it to me.
Overall, The Chosen a decent book with some moments of sheer beauty. But in the end, I don't think I'd recommend it to many people. It definitely has a particular audience, though.
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