Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Separate Peace - John Knowles

When I was about 13, we went back East to visit family.  I remember going to my Aunt and Uncle's home in Maryland and finding this book.  I remember it as one of the earliest "adult" books I had read but had a very fuzzy memory of the story.  I picked up a copy in a used bookstore and re-read it all these years later.

It's the story of two high school age boys in the final year during WWII.  They are anticipating getting into the war, either by enlisting or being drafted.  Their ways of reacting to their potential future and the choices they make in their friendship is the heart of the story.

The book is described as a "coming of age" story and the young boys end the story in different places from where they started in the summer before their last year.   The writing is tight, as if the author thought of just the right word for each sentence.  The characters are detailed and clearly painted.  

I vaguely remember not relating to the book at the time I first read it, it being about boys and all.  After re-reading it, I still don't relate to the relationship between the two, the male bond broken and stitched back.  I suspect when it was published, it resonated with many middle aged men of the time who had served in the war.

Published: 1959   Read: September 2013  Genre: Fiction (classic)

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