Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.
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 World War II.
Set 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 world.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
With his coming-of-age classic, John Knowles brilliantly captures the duality of adoration and resentment that’s so common in teenage friendships. The story is told through the eyes of Gene, a bookish boy whose free-spirited best friend, Phineas, makes everything fun and adventurous. When Phineas suffers a terrible fall, it’s unclear whether it was an accident or not. Meanwhile, World War II rages on in the world outside the boys’ New England boarding school, and the inevitability of the draft hangs over everyone. A Separate Peace has stood the test of time because the emotions here are so authentic and relatable. This dark, brooding story sparkles with life.
Tbh the paper back book is only 5 dollars so why would I pay $10 so it can be on my phone ? I could go online and read it for free...
The worst story of all time
If you want to give this to your teenage son, daughter, or even make your class read it. Heed my warning! This book is absolute garbage. This is the type of book you would find in the bargain bin, but it’s the only book with the note, “We don’t care about its cost just get this thing out of here!” The main character, Gene is extremely unlikable and describes all the other characters in the most disgusting ways such as him talking about some other guy’s butt. Not to mention Gene does this every time 24/7 whenever a new character enters the scene. You can barely get to know them because Mr. Know it all pops out of no where and shove their character bio in your face. On the front of the book, it talks about how it’s a moving coming of age story. Yup..attempted homicide and excessive weirdness is moving. Don’t read this book. It is the definition of cringe.
read it for school, got my own copy shortly after
let me preface this by saying this book isn't for everyone. expect no fast paced action-packed style, as much of the conflict is internal. also bear in mind that this is set in an all-white all-male boarding school community, which of course is not interesting to everyone.
that said, i have to say this book is most definitely one of my favorite -- if not my absolute favorite -- books. the characters feel like they have a lot of depth, and the story is told very earnestly and subtly from a place in the author's memory that seems tender and wistful. the writing and story never felt manufactured or saturated to me.
it is also a good look into one experience of the war, and how even those of the most privileged classes were affected. a lot of what happens is interpreted very differently from person to person, more so than most books i've read. that's one of the beauties of it, in my opinion. characters and events are written explicitly enough to make sense but ambiguously enough for everyone to read it their own way.
david levithan's afterword is insightful but brief and easy to read, which is a blessing as most books that fall into the classic lit genre have really long and overblown additions.