Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Chosen

The ChosenThe Chosen by Chaim Potok
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Part baseball, part religion, part exploration of the weight of parental expectations.

First thoughts: This book took me a long time to read because it took me a long time to get into it and understand what the point is. After finishing, I'm still not sure how impactful the book is to me personally. I wanted to know what was going to happen, but didn't know where it was going most of the time.

Favorite quotes:
"Anything that brought the world together he called a blessing."

" you grow older you will discover that the most important things that will happen to you will often come as a result of silly things."

Librarian thoughts: The one point of access I had to the story was in thinking about censorship of books, especially for youth. How important is it to steer kids towards/away from certain books? Who decides what is appropriate for kids to read: teachers, parents, the kids themselves?

Recommended for: This book was probably not written for me, so take this review with a grain of salt. I think baseball fans will get into it quicker than I did. Jewish people will understand most of it better than I did. Anyone who is knowledgeable about religions, Judaism in the 1940s and 50s, or Freud will "get" the conflict of the story in a more complete way than I ever could.

Final thoughts: Ehh, it felt anticlimactic. Like, that's it? After all the build-up of the father-son relationships? Not sure how to feel, or if I feel anything at all. The book shows how doctrine and semantics can divide a group from the inside, yet all I could think as a non-Jewish person/outsider looking in was: how are you two that different? Underlines the importance of focusing on similarities with those we view as distinct from us - odds are others don't see your differences as clearly as you do.

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