The Chosen by Chaim Potok

October 1, 2009
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Reuven Malter, a thirteen year old Jewish boy living in New York is your average youth softball player, and he is about to have a life-changing year. Reuven's father is named David Malter, and he is a participant in the Zionist act to create a Jewish state, Jerusalem. This whole story starts with Reuven playing for his softball team. He is an all-star fielder, and an even better pitcher. He is playing a great game against their bitter rivals. The opposing team's players all have long earlocks and black skullcaps on. Their best player is Danny Saunders, a very powerful hitter. When an accident happens including Reuven's glasses shattering, he is rushed to the hospital where he learns that he may be blind for the rest of his life because of scar tissue forming over his pupil. While in the hospital, Reuven becomes friends with some of his ward-mates and learns their stories. He also becomes friends with Danny Saunders, who comes by to apologize. Reuven ends up learning a lot about Danny and his anti-Zionist father, Reb Saunders, by coming by the Saunder's house to study a thing called Talmud. Danny and Reuven end up going to High School together and become very good friends. It turns out that Danny wants to be a psychoanalyst, but by doing that he will be disgracing his father, as it is a custom for the son to become a rabbi in his family and culture. His father finds out, but lets it pass, and Danny gets what he wants. Reuven, however, wants to become a rabbi, and with no objection from his father, gets his wish as well.

The Chosen is an amazing story of growing up, friendship, and hard times. Potok does a great job of including opinions and side-stories of secondary characters as well as the primaries. I felt like I wanted to give advice to characters as the story unfolded, because it was as though I was there too, visualizing Reuven's glasses smashing, and observing his Talmud sessions.

The Chosen is moving, educational, and it surprised me as to how these people acted, and knowing that there are people like that in this country. I recommend this book to people between the ages of 11-16, because the book includes teenagers who I think this age group would understand more than others. I think this book is perfect for the people who want to know more about humanity and everyone around them.





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