A Separate Peace

A Separate Peace

A Novel

Book - 1986
Average Rating:
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John Knowles' beloved classic has been a bestseller for more than 30 years and is one of the most moving and accurate novels about the trials and confusions of adolescence ever written. Set at an elite boarding school for boys during World War II, A Separate Peace is the story of friendship and treachery, and how a tragic accident involving two young men forever tarnishes their innocence.
Publisher: New York : Macmillan, 1986, c1959
ISBN: 9780025648500
0025648500
9780743253970
0743253973
Branch Call Number: FIC Knowl
Characteristics: 186 p

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t
TwiceSaved
Feb 03, 2017

Wow what an incredible coming of age story! Phineas, an incredibly vibrant character in the book, was a great inspiration in my life. From the story Knowles paints, he has a vibrant, effervescent spirit to him which automatically draws the reader to him. However, I do not think his death, was a malicious act by Gene.

I really do feel for Gene throughout this story. Phineas was always pushing him, egging him on and it seemed Gene was bothered by that.

Believe me, I know what it means to have friends like that. People who dare you into semi-dangerous situations just to satisfy their own desires. And I still don't know if Phineas was like that, or whether he genuinely cared for Gene and just wanted him to break out of his shell.

But in the end, Gene finally turned the situation back on Phineas. He made Phineas adapt to his musings, and in the end, eventually killed him. That last conversation between Phineas and Gene is one of the more poignant conversations in literature I believe.

Was Gene trying to apologize, was Phineas telling him he was already forgiven? Did the two realize their ultimate mistake and come to terms with themselves. John Knowles never draws any conclusions.

Was Gene a murderer returning to the scene of a crime? Or was he just a grown man trying to make sense of one the most perplexing relationships he has had with one the more perplexing people he has ever known?

Again, I have been in Gene's situation. Being dared or belittled into doing something I did not want to. And there are times I wish I had the guts to do what Gene did, and turn the tables on my antagonistic frenemy. I did not, Gene did. Who is right?

Some people view what Gene did as murder, or at least manslaughter. I view Gene's actions as justified. Just doing to him what he did, and was trying to do to me.

j
JESSICA PILON
Jan 12, 2016

This book was awful. It was confusing, at times disturbing, and weird. I absolutely hated it. I am 14 and I wouldn't recommend this for anyone. The only reason I was able to finish was because I had to do it for school.

m
MADKC4Ever
May 12, 2014

First off, let me just say that I was not forced to read this book in school. The other English classes were, but my teacher told us she hated it, and refused to do it. Well, as I got to hear more and more about it, and after hearing various opinions from other people, I decided to buy it at the used book store and have my own opinion. And I honestly don't know what to think about this book. Since I didn't have the help of an English teacher, probably 99% of the metaphors flew right over my head, but I still thought it was a nice story. I knew the ending before I even opened it, but I still read it all the way through, because I was thought it was interesting enough. It's also a war story, without it being a "way story," you know what I mean? Its set back in World War Two, and the school the charecters attend is focused on getting boys prepared for the draft, but its not like a war story, where it's all happening on the battlefield. I can't stand the main charecter, Gene, even by the end of the book, even though you're supposed to feel remorse for him. I can see why some people hate it, and completely see why my sophomore English teacher refused to teach it. It's a very aquired taste, and not a lot of people 14-17 are going to want to pick it up. I happened to enjoy it, but it would be better to know what you're getting into before you tackle the book.

n
NatalieAlisa
Sep 18, 2013

Infinitely rereadable!

b
britprincess1
Apr 26, 2013

A very eloquently told story, in near entirety a flashback, of a boy whose jealousy got the better of him. In the world of frenemies that exists, this tale resonates, but speaks of the travesties of war, real and imagined, internationally waged and personally crafted, in such a way that is impactful. Adolescent identity is made in these moments, these choices, and, as one who cares very little for war stories and war films and the like, I was pleasantly surprised by this tale set during WWII. Perhaps it was because of the lack of actual historical battles, despite being amidst the culture of it, that I enjoyed this book, as it was wholly set within the context of a high school, something nearly everyone has experienced. The characters seem real, the dialogue natural. I loved the flow of it all, with all its twists and turns, and I completely understand why it is considered a classic. I highly recommend A SEPARATE PEACE.

b
BantamBrain
Jan 23, 2013

This book still wows me. It is a subtle story. No quick violence or fast humor, but a slow tense march to a devestating finale.

p
pegoraro
Nov 11, 2012

@splashcrash I agree

splashcrashy
um can i jus say that ShuMinHe1996 should not say what was in the book because i have not read it yet and i was looking at coments to see how good it was and then i saw that someone hurt there best friend and know i kinda know what the story is about whitch isn't good plz dont do this again

j
Joshua716
Jul 19, 2012

A Separate Peace, tells a great story. I truly admire Knowles' characterization. He created Gene and Phineas as two clashing characters and really puts the reader inside the mind of Gene. It frankly changed the way I look at life and the way I feel that an event can change someone's outlook. I strongly suggest reading this book.

u
ukiuq
Feb 05, 2012

I think this novel received a bit too much hype but, overall it provides a picture of the hardships faced by a group of friends during the wartime. I didn't enjoy as much as I thought I would but, I wasn't disappointed in the outcome.

All in all, I strongly recommend for those liking coming-of-age, wartime shock, and friendship-focused stories (pretty specific, I know, but worth a read if that's what you like).

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VV12
Aug 30, 2015

VV12 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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MADKC4Ever
May 12, 2014

MADKC4Ever thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

u
ukiuq
Feb 05, 2012

ukiuq thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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