A Separate Peace

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A Separate Peace
Author(s)
Genre(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
January 01, 1959
ISBN
0684833662
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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.A bestseller for more than thirty years, A Separate Peace is John Knowles’s crowning achievement and an undisputed American classic.

User reviews

11 reviews
 
36%
 
45%
3 stars
 
0%
 
9%
 
9%
Overall rating
 
3.9
Plot
 
3.8(11)
Characters
 
4.0(1)
Writing Style
 
4.0(1)
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Hauntingly Thoughtful
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
While I recall this book being very well written and purposeful in it's structure, my better recollection is how it affected me. While being told from an entirely masculine adolescent perspective, I found it both relatable and insightful. To me, it came across as an allegorical commentary on sociological dynamics and the human will.

The two main characters you follow are like a sampling of any segment of the population, with a sprinkling of universal teen angst and insecurity. You have a gung-ho charismatic Finny, who possesses leadership skills that he doesn't seem entirely aware of, and doesn't always use wisely. And then you have Gene, the introverted follower, who has difficulty taking personal responsibility for his actions in spite of his obvious intelligence. In the telling, I saw the classic struggle of human nature to either complement the strengths and weaknesses of those closest to us, or to resent them for their deviation from our own personality.

What struck me more than anything was the way the book presented the danger of nursing resentment. Gene eventually displays a sort of impulsive evil, the consequences of which he does not weigh in the moment of action. There is an obvious mortification with what a person is capable of, and yet, there is a clear comprehension of how they have arrived at that catastrophic place. For that, I consider this an enduringly important book.
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A powerful book
I enjoyed reading this for english, i was able to flt through it and didnt have to force myself to read read. I think that he did a nice job with writing about the flaws of both Gene and Finny. I was intrigued by the characters and the language.
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A Seperate Peace
Overall rating
 
1.0
Plot
 
1.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Sage

A Seperate Peace is about two boys Phinneas and Gene who, like any two teenagers, just want to have fun in highschool. The two seem polar opposites Gene the brainac and Phinneas the sports star. But both have the same thing looming over their shoulders. The army draft. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While it was not one of my favorite books, personally I consider it a guy book,  it was very well written and i can understand how others love it so much.   
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Surpisingly Satisfactory
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Katie

I had to read this book for summer reading for Advanced English the summer before my freshman year. Usually when I have to read a book for school I don't like it. However, this one I did enjoy because I understood what was going on. Also things were fairly clarified after watching the movie, which I also recommend. This book is a representation of a trasnformation from youth to adulthood. Gene befriends Phineas and they start a club in which you have to jump out of a tree into the river. During this stunt, Finny shatters his leg and can no longer play sports which are very dear to him. This is where the transformations start and this soon leads to Finny's next accident in which he falls down the stairs and shatters his leg again, also mcausing his death. After this tragic experience, the is a huge transformation in Gene. This book has a lot of intensity in it. I highly recommend reading it and really taking it to heart. I think one of the most important things to take from A Separate Peace is to not take life for granted and to really give some thought to the things you do. You never know which breath is your last until its too late.

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Subtle and Powerful
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by P.G. Sherrie

John Knowles' A Separate Peace stands apart in the coming-of-age genre.  There is an immediacy in the book surrounding the mysterious event between Gene and Phineas that encapsulates all the headiness of adolescence.  Set in a New England all-boys prep school in the early years of WWII, A Separate Peace captures a piece of American history through a specialized segment of the population. Although the upper-class prep school may not be a setting which many readers can relate to, the issues of growing up, jealousy, and friendship are essential aspects of humanity, and cause the novel to appeal to a wide audience.
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It was amazing.
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by April

This book is perfect for teens in high school. It shows the internal conflict of a teen who is jealous of his best friend and the consequences of his feelings. He struggles against the jealousy, but loses terribly. And it turns out, his best friend was jealous of him too! What a surprise!
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intriguing
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by abscae

This isn't a war book, it is about two characters during the war. They are two kids at a school, near of the age where they can get drafted, yet half of the book is about them enjoying that freedom. The other half is of how that freedom can be taken away.

I don't know why, but many people didn't like this book in my English class. I did, and whenever I heard someone complain, I'd want to say something against it. I don't know if it's just because I love books and look at them in a different perspective, or they truly didn't like it. I thought this book was fabulous just because of the subject matter it brought up as well as thematic elements.
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Slow but worth it
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Mi-chan

A slow moving book that really catches the attention. It may not get to the point of high suspense like other books can but it still keeps the readers attention. A very good book the description of the surroundings are very vivid, and the characters each have their own personality, they are different from each other by so much. I would really recommend this book to those who like calm real reads.
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Wonderful
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by missy

I loved it. The plot moved along well. The writing was wonderful. I reconmend it to anyone. I liked how the past played into it. It had a nice twist.
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meaning with no heart
Overall rating
 
2.0
Plot
 
2.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by garden0fdreams

The story had a meaning. To show life and the way of thinking from both sides of life.While some were at war, others daydreamed and took it playfully due to inocence. The novel had meaning but it really didn't have much heart.
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