Customer Reviews for

A Separate Peace

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

19 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

A Separate Review

When i first came upon this book was in my AP English class in the 10th grade, with the limited list of books and the library out of the easy read books, I found A Separate Peace. As i showed and told everyone what i was reading they gave me mix reviews, Some said it wa...
When i first came upon this book was in my AP English class in the 10th grade, with the limited list of books and the library out of the easy read books, I found A Separate Peace. As i showed and told everyone what i was reading they gave me mix reviews, Some said it was too much of a guy book and was deemed boring and not worth the time to read. As i read on, i was captivated by the main character, and his struggle of guilt and jealousy of someone whom he called a best friend. I was angry and yet i found myself relating to the character of Gene. I mean if you had a friend who had qualities that you wished you could possessed, wouldn't you be jealous of that friend? You couldn't stay mad at Gene but you couldn't help but not love Phineas. They were two friends of the opposite side of the spectrum, yet they found a way to be friends. Phineas must have known the jealousy that possessed Gene, and the fault of the accident, yet Phineas, as marvelous as he was, forgave Gene. But it was not just about friendship going through it's rough and uneasy edges but it was about manhood, these boys going to school and figuring what type of men they will become while a war hung over their heads. These boys had their adventures in school, and when it comes to male friendship, its about who you're having the fun with and the strong bond that is created through fears, and understanding of the world. These boys were all shaped and touched by the essence that was Finny, he was their leader so to speak, and he was the one that they looked to for advice and reaction to the everyday commands of life and school.

posted by SunnyMay on June 13, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

SLOW TORTURE

This book is one of the worst i have read. I try to keep an open mind when i read books but this one was just plain dull. It was so boring and weird. If you like to slowly torture yourself, then this book is for you. I would put a no star on this book but the rating doe...
This book is one of the worst i have read. I try to keep an open mind when i read books but this one was just plain dull. It was so boring and weird. If you like to slowly torture yourself, then this book is for you. I would put a no star on this book but the rating doesn't go that low. Save Yourself!!!!

posted by Anonymous on January 6, 2008

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  • Posted December 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A different book

    This book is in the first-person and is told by the main character, Gene. The book is somewhat one-sided because Gene puts his own views on certain aspects in the story. This book takes place at the Devon boarding school during World War II. The two characters, Gene and Finny, are best friends and room mates. The first part of the book takes place during the Summer Session at Devon. The Summer Session is a carefree time for the boys and it is their last chance at being young because they are ready to start training for the war. Gene is extremely smart and Finny is very athletic. Gene begins to feel jealousy and hatred toward Finny, but he never shows Finny this. During the entire Summer Session the boys get into the habit of jumping off of this tree limb into a pond. At the very end of the Summer Session Gene realizes that Finny is a better person than he is and it makes Gene very mad. So that afternoon when they go to jump off of the tree Gene shakes the branch that Finny is standing on. Finny falls and shatters his leg and the doctors tell Gene that Finny will never be able to play sports again. Gene feels terrible and this incident takes the entire novel for Gene to overcome. After Finny's fall Gene becomes symbolically a part of Finny. Gene wears Finny's clothes and starts playing sports. The Winter Session at Devon is a dreary time for the boys and this is where I thought the book got slow. Not very much action goes on. By the end of the novel Gene has forgiven himself and what he did to Finny. This book is an ok book, but it is a good book for school if you have a project to do. But, I wouldn't recommend it for pleasure reading.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Separate Peace

    I have always loved to read books; ever since I was old enough to sit on my dad's lap and listen to him talk, as I recall. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, has particularly struck me as great book because it teaches a great life lesson. I can relate myself to both Phineas and Gene personally. I am happy, thoughtful, and intelligent, like Gene, yet goofy, a dare-devil, and a good athlete like Phineas. A Separate Peace is a very good book in my opinion. John Knowles wrote this book to teach the lesson: "you don't know what you have until it's gone." He uses suspense while he foreshadows over many various places in the book to set the tone.


    A Separate Peace by John Knowles shows great examples of how dramatic it is to be an adolescent. This book is written in first person. Throughout this novel the protagonist, Gene's, feelings of admiration and abhorrence towards his roommate and best friend at the Devon boarding school, Phineas, grows to the point where Gene is too confused to focus on reality. I would recommend this book for those who love suspense.A Separate Peace takes you to a boarding school at Devon, New Hampshire during the summer of 1942. Gene, the main character and the narrator, is smart, cunning and mildly physically active, but not as active as Phineas. Phineas could easily be the best athlete at Devon. One of Phineas's nicknames was Finny. Together they start a Secret Society for those brave enough to jump out of a limb of a tree over a river.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2009

    It's okkk...

    In my opinion I did not like this book. I had to read it for school and I didn't even finish it! It was boorringgg. I ended up having to use sparknotes for the last few chapters of the book because it took me forever to read A Separate Peace! And I'm usually a fast reader! Don't get this book unless you have to read it.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    This is a classic and the story of boys at a prep school. Gene a

    This is a classic and the story of boys at a prep school. Gene and Finny are roommates and good friends. Finny is athletic, charming and easy-going. Gene is more academic, and seems envious of Finny. There is an incident involving a fall from a tree that changes everything.

    I had a hard time with this book. It is a relatively fast read at just over 200 pages. I think you can't help but envision Dead Poet's Society (one of my favorite movies) as you read it. The writing is good and the characters well developed. However I just found it boring. I kept waiting to be drawn in, and that never happened. In fact, I went to my book club discussion for this book, and couldn't even remember any details about what had happened. It is one of those books that within a day or two of completing it, I had completely forgotten it.

    So if you like the classics, like books about the human psyche and the relationships between young boys discovering themselves, give this quick read a try. For me? I just never got it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2011

    this book is the best!!!

    the best book ever- review!!

    I read "A Separate Peace," written by John Knowles. It was set at a boarding school, in New Hampshire, during World War II. There are two best friends who the main characters are named, Gene and Phineas. Phineas is also called Finny. The story is about the two boy's life at Devon Academy.
    I liked the story, but it moved along very slowly. At points I had to force myself to read on. But, at times I couldn't wait to see what happened. But the book also confused me. If Gene was really Finny's friend he wouldn't be envious of him. I wonder if that ever crossed the authors mind.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2011

    The beginning half is soo slow it is ridiculous! But it picks up a bit, thankfully.

    I have no idea why this book took me sooooo long to finish. Oh wait i do, its beginning is incredibly slow and boring, i can't stress it enough. I usually finish books within 2 to 3 days, maybe a week if they are huge, but this book took me 6 months to finish. I honestly didn't even want to finish reading it, i just had to because i'm determined to finish every book i start. The story wasn't that bad to be quite honest, there was a point where it became quite interesting but for me, half of the book was incredibly boring. Yet the ending half was better, it had an interesting storyline and it even touched upon my emotions. I don't regret the read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2009

    Stiff and hard to read

    I made myself finish this book!!! The entire story could have been cut down to six charpters. Once I finished the book I could see the two main characters more clearly. Font is good! Very, very intense. I would only give this to a very high minded intellectual person. Not for the everyday person who loves good misteries or loves to laugh and cry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2009

    Not As Great As I Thought It Would Be

    All I'm going to say is that I think Gene was a more believable character than Phineas.

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  • Posted September 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is definitely, A TWIST!

    The story is all about friendship which had driven me so much courage to be true to myself. It motivated me to be true with my feelings that I do not need to pretend in front of my companions or even in front of the mirror and act to be someone whom I'm not. This book states a very touching story which I considered an ultimate twist.The one who narrates the story was the good guy at first but then as you can go through its next chapters, you will realize that Gene,the narrator, is the protagonist.He was the bad guy because he was jealous of Phineas' unique and fascinating, SEPARATE PEACE.The title relays a message to all who were envious of the success and happiness of others. At first, I thought that Gene has the SEPARATE PEACE but it was Phineas.I love the flow of the story.

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  • Posted August 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Not Great

    This book was not a favorite of mine. The plot seemed rushed, and the writng wasn't always comprehensible. I did however enjoy the characters and the symbolism.

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  • Posted August 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A peace of separatism.

    Although this book lacked a structured plot and had barely any external conflict, I found A Separate Peace very fresh and beautiful. The way that Knowles paints a picture in your head with his astounding vocabulary is mind-boggling. I would highly reccommend this for a quick and easy read, but I don't plan on re-reading it anytime soon.

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  • Posted August 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I'm glad I read it, but I wouldn't do it again.

    Like a lot of people, I had to read this book for English, and I honestly can't say I enjoyed it. It had good messages, it had amazingly real characters, and it had some nice symbolism. But sometimes the writing seemed to me a little insane and all over the place, it almost made me mentally dizzy at times. Maybe I just didn't comprehend it the way I should have. And I've always felt that books should be progressing forward, but it seemed like the whole book was the characters trying to reconcile around an event that lasted only a page. In the end, I realized it had some good points, but I didn't feel like I took that much away.

    So I'm glad I read this because it showed me something different, and I did love how well the characters were portrayed. But I definitely wouldn't say I liked it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2008

    Different...

    Though I read this book for school, I'm not going to dig on it. The main character was an interesting boy, though the book lagged in plot, intrigue, or anything remotely enjoyable. Now that I've seen Dead poets Society, it's like that, but DPS is sooo much better. Don't rent the Separate Peace movie... waste of both time and money.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2008

    Ehhh

    Not fantastic and not terrible. I had to read it for school and didn't bother finishing it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2006

    Slow at first, but.........

    Yes I do agree that this book begins slow, but please give it time. I am reading this book for english, and truthfully wouldn't have read it if it hadn't been required. I do think that the book increases the level of interest throughout its pages, though. I did enjoy this book because it was different from what I normally read. If you are into these kinds of books then I suggest it, but otherwise choose a different book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2006

    A Seperate Peace

    The name of the book is called A Separate Peace. It is written in fist person. The narrator of the book is a young man named Gene. He is returning back to school at Devon School in New Hampshire. World War 2 was just starting at the time, the book shift back 15 years ago. Gene friend is a boy names Phineas, Gene is usually a good boy but when around Phineas, he tend to break the rules. One day Phineas and Gene come up with the idea for a, Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session. One day Phineas and Gene go to jump off a diving board. Then Gene stumble on the diving board Phineas quickly grab him. Phineas and Gene's friends Brinker and Leper joined the group also. Which they made up a new game called blitz ball. One day Gene was studying and Phineas came and asked him to go and jump off a tree. Gene begins to believe that Phineas is trying to come out ahead in class. Phineas is good in athletics but, Gene is good in academics. Phineas says that Gene is too smart and should go with him. Gene decides to go, when they get on the tree Gene stumbles and Phineas fall and break his leg. Gene goes to the hospital and is told that Phineas leg it broken, he tries to tell Phineas that it is his fault but, couldn't because the doctor arrives. Summer is over and Gene is going back to school, on the way there he stops by to visit Phineas. When he gets to his house Gene tells Phineas the truth about the accident but Phineas denies this confession. Days later Brinker says that Gene had set up for Phineas accident. He says that Gene wanted his own room and made Phineas fall. Gene gets very angry and exit the room. When Christmas came the boys were bored. They had to plow snow instead of having fun. Gene gets bored and decides to go to a new school because of Phineas. When he got to his dorm he saw Phineas in there and decides to stay and not leave. One day Gene goes to his friend Leper in Vermont, during winter. Leper is a bit coo-coo, and talks lots of nonsense. Leper was walking up a hill with Gene and says he know that it was his fault that Phineas broke his leg. Gene hen punches Leper and apologizes for acting stupid. Then Leper decides to enroll in the army and tells Gene. The next day the boys go back home Gene and Leper share their idea of enrolling in the army with the boys. Gene secretly tells Brinker about Lepers mental problem. Leper on the other hand goes to the hospital to speak to Phineas. He there tells him that Gene is the reason that his leg is broken. Phineas then gets mad and tries to run away, he slips down the stairs and dies when a bone cuts one of his major blood vessels. This is the major scene in the whole book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2005

    Average

    This book was given to me as my summer reading assignment for school. I love to read, but I hate to be obligated to read a certain book, especially one i did not chose. This book was OK, but not great. It dragged to much and took me too long to read. I was expecting it to be more exciting seeing that it was about teenage boys during a time of war. I could not wait to finish reading this book so I could get it over with.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2005

    ok

    this book is a good book and all, but there is just so much symbolism going on. Even the littlest thing has to be so descriptive, for instance, the way knowles(Gene) describes the marble floor and the stairs....i mean, we don't necessarily have to recieve an overload of details. and the novel is like 13 chapters for christ's sake! Good story though...but with TOO TOO much symbolism.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2005

    A Good Book, but Not Fantastic

    A Separate Peace is a story about two friends attending a boarding school during World War II. Gene, the protagonist, and Phineas (Finny), his best friend, are having a happy school life until Finny falls out of a tree and shatters his leg. And Gene thinks it's his fault. The book is very good, and the story is told very well. The feelings and emotions felt by Gene seem very well, and are easy for the reader to relate to. There is some symbolism that sometimes seem hard to pick up on, but adds a lot to the story. However, it is rather long winded at times, giving explanations about things that seem irrelevant.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2003

    A Separate Opinion

    A SEPARATE OPINION After reading the book ¿A Separate Peace¿, I though it was interesting, But it really didn¿t seem it had much to do with the war. I gave the book three stars because it didn¿t really catch my attention until the last two chapters in the book. It was fairly well written, it needed to be based on something or more information based on the war. Since I had to read the book in the class, this book would have never been finished by me. I like how the author took the boys and put them in their on world with the personality clashes and the part where they do get along. All in all, it was a boring book besides the last two chapters. I wouldn¿t recommend this book to people are age, because they wouldn¿t be interested in reading this book.

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