A Separate Peace

A Separate Peace

by John Knowles
3.7 473


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A Separate Peace (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 473 reviews.
SunnyMay More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
John Knowles did an excellent job on A Separate Peace. The way Gene will do anything to be like his friend is very disturbing, and yet it relates to a lot of people...maybe not to the point of death, but a lot of readers can relate to competition among friends. This novela has many important themes to it. It shows that the victims of 'battle' are not always on the front line, and are unseen. I can not think of one bad thing to say about this novel. Instead of making poor reviews, maybe people should actually take the time to analyze and try to understand the book.
Lil_Sweet_N_Low More than 1 year ago
Ok...so I had to read this book in high school, like a lot of people did too, most likely. And I hated it. Really. I didn't really even bother to read past the first few chapters. But then we watched the movie in class, and I was suprised! It was good! Really good!!! So that summer, I went back and reread the book...It was AWESOME!!! It really get's at the complexities of growing up and friendship. It has become my favorite book of all time. I try and read it at least once a year! It has some really great messages within it's pages if you are willing to give it a chance.
scoutster More than 1 year ago
Another summer another assignment but this book was one I did enjoy to read. It is one of those that you can just flow through and you can just enjoy reading (as long as you don't have an assignment). So without that assignment you will enjoy reading this book and you should like to read it and enjoy each of the very well put together characters. So enojoy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A Seprate peace is an icredbily book you will not be able to but down until you read the very last word.This book is an amazeing jouney beetwen two best freind that are always together. This is my favriot book of all time.I am not some one that loves to read but this just made me one.
2BinEurope More than 1 year ago
Read this book for book club, and it provided fodder for a very lively discussion. Someone even brought Cliff's Notes, which added even more discussion topics! Beautifully written book, characters are well fleshed out and distinctive, the narrative moves right along. The book hinges on an accident that changes the lives of all involved forever, but figuring out what exactly happened during this pivotal event left all of us puzzled. (That's where Cliff's Notes came in handy!) Meaty, but enjoyable.
sammy0chan More than 1 year ago
If my summer reading list didn't require me to do so, I would have never thought to look past the cover of this book. I enjoyed following the characters through their difficulties. The characters in this book have distinct personalities, sometimes with mysterious auras surrounding them. A great wartime novel that not only focuses on the war, but the kids growing up in that time period.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow! When my English teacher told me we had to read this book for school I was like great, another boring book but I was so surprised to find that with every page I began to love this book more and more. The words just drew me in and I found myself feeling the emotions of those in the book. I was brought to tears at the end but, this is a great book. Truly a classic and I would recommend it for anyone.
BookReviews8 More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In seventh grade, my mom suggested to me that I read this book as my 'first classic novel'. I didn't think much of it at first, but I must say that I was shocked at how beautiful it was. I hadn't expected a classic set during World War II to be one of my all-time favorite books, but the insight and conversation in this story is like no other. Once I got over the initial boredom at the first chapter, emotion swept through my veins, tied me down and yet released me from my burdens at the same time. This is a must-read for any middle- or high-schooler seeking acceptance or struggling with emotions and pain... a real heart-opener, whatever that may be! :)
carlosmock More than 1 year ago
A Separate Peace by John Knowles The book is set in New Hampshire at The Devon Boarding School. The book is narrated from Gene's Forrester's first person point of view. It opens in 1959 as Gene comes to visit Devon School and reminisces at the tree where he and Phineas started The Suicide Society of The Summer Session. The story immediately flashbacks to the summer of 1942. Phineas (Finny) and Gene are roommates and best friends. Finny is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Because opposites attract they form a very strong bond. Finny comes up with the idea of jumping from a huge tree in the school property into the river. Even though they were surrounded by classmates, only Finny and Gene jump, thus sealing their friendship with The Suicide Society of The Summer Session. As they return to their senior year, Genes resents Finny's adventures and sees them as a threat to his academic excellence. When Elwin (Leper) Lepellier decides to join their club, Gene was studying for a test. Forced to go and jump with their new member, Gene decides to make Finny fall off the tree by jouncing the limb Finny was using to jump. Finny falls and breaks up his leg; all of his athletic abilities are curtailed. Gene tries to confess to Finny, but it is to no avail. Finny is in denial and more determined to be Gene's closest friend. Finny trains Gene to be an athlete in the fictitious 1944 Olympics and Gene helps Finny with his studies. But Leper had witnesses Gene's act of treason toward Finny and he decides to join the army. Unfortunately, Leper can't take it and cracks up. He's discharged under the Section Eight army rules. When Leper returns to Devon, his classmates decide to hold at trial against Gene. This time Finny is really hurt. As he runs out of the assembly, he breaks his leg again. When the school doctor tries to set the leg, Finny just dies. Written in 1959, this books is not only a war novel, but also a classic coming of age piece. Using the metaphor of the friendship between two boys, we see how war can damage human beings. Just like training camp ruined Leper, envy and rancor ruins the friendship between Gene and Phineas. "...whenever you really love something, then it loves you back, in whatever way it has to love." (Gene p. 111) "An operating room is a place where the risks are just more formal than in other places. An operating room and a war." (Dr. Stanpole p. 193) "Why did it have to happen to you boys so soon, here at Devon?" (Dr. Stanpole p. 194) Gene does enlists in the Navy, but: "I never killed anybody and I never developed an intense level of hatred for the enemy. Because my war ended before i was ever put on an uniform; I was on active duty all my time at school; I killed my enemy there." (p. 204) "Your war memories will be with you forever, you'll be asked about them a thousand times after the war is over." (Mr. Healy p. 199) Nicely said!
tenebrae_tec More than 1 year ago
Awesome! Must read.
DudeBrah More than 1 year ago
A Seperate Peace has to be one of the best books I have ever read. It made me think a lot about how teenagers act today compared to how Finny and Gene and the rest of the boys would act back during WWII. The story is so touching and it reminds me of my friendships with many of my friends and I feel like I can somehow relate to Gene. Overall, I can tell you that you won't be able to put this book down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a Graduate student and picked this up several weeks ago while looking for a light story to read this summer. I am pleasantly surprised at how much I truly enjoyed this book. While it may not appeal to everyone, the characters and setting truly added depth to this turning of age piece. Although there has been some discussion on the subtle gay overtones, the bond of friendship with the two main characters is what is truly meaningful and can be found in many male/male relationships whether gay or straight. Don¿t let this dissuade anyone from reading the book. It is a great piece of literature.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to read the book A Separate Peace for high school summer reading.To be honest I did'nt enjoy it at all.There was nothing to it and it moved so slow.It is basically about two boys and thier summer at the Devon School during the Summer Session.Some people say to give it time but no matter what this book is off my bookshelf for good!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Before reading this in English, I first thought it was just another of those books that we had to read and had a 'lets just get it over with' outlook towards it. Instead, it was an insightful and well written story full of imagery and description. A main theme of this story is hiding from the truth, and what happens when false realities fall apart, and also Gene coming to terms with his best friend's death. 'Nothing endures, not a tree, not love, not even a death by violence. Changed, I headed back through the mud. I was drenched anybody could see it was time to come in out of the rain'
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was forced to read A Seperate Peace last year in school, and I was apprehensive to allow myself to enjoy this intriguing novel because I've had a long history with boring, required school reading. I was surprised by how realistic the boys' emotions were and I could relate to Gene like I have with no other character before. This is one of my favorite books of all time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to read this novel for English, and I really enjoyed it. I think every person can find themselves somewhere in the novel. The characters are complex and intriguing. The only thing I did not like about the book was that it contains a lot of cussing.
Anonymous 29 days ago
I had to read this in high school and hated it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Didi_ More than 1 year ago
I first had to read this book for a 4-week period in my freshman English class. The beginning sort of dragged on to be honest, but past half the first chapter is where the story really begins. I’m glad I read it; it’s one of my top favorites. I've reread this book many times. It was a wonderful tale of defining moments, coming of age, and friendship. Circumstances really challenged how far Gene was willing to go to keep Phineas as his best friend. I loved that there was no romance; it was a relationship drama-free book with some comedy integrated. Everyone admires Finny, the athletic, fun, and charismatic young boy. Gene is the smart kid, competing with other "smart kids" to be valedictorian of the class. Two total opposites, Gene and Finn meet and do everything together. Gene doesn't want to go along with some if Finny's ideas, and can think Finny peculiar at times, but as they say, opposites attract. I don't want to ruin the book for others, but despite the mistake Gene makes, Finny is so forgiving and it just breaks my heart the way Finny shows Gene so much grace and doesn't even think of letting him go. Some may say Gene didn't deserve Finny, but it was a perfect friendship that teaches the characters and readers about friendship and one's limits. It may seem that Finny is only oblivious to the war and chaos occurring around them, but if you look deeper, Finny does have his own feelings and opinions, he is hurt and affected by some events; he isn't just another carefree teenage boy. When Phineas dies...it is a terrible yet wonderful ending, and so fitting to the story. Readers may be upset that he died after they finally understood each other, but it really was a good ending. One cannot help but love Phineas, the witty and comedic athlete; and being the person I am, I couldn't help but love Gene, the intellectual schoolboy. I watched the movie as well and the movie does a wonderful job retelling the story, with much suspense. A few scenes were cut out for time, but I do recommend both watching and reading A Separate Peace.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once upon a time, I was forced to read this terrible book. I hated it! Hated all the characters! I would rather transpose The Scarlet Letter in one week of solitary confinement (word-for-word) than be forced to read or discuss this failure of prose ever again. By the time Finny hits the ground, the reader's apathy is so dense that little emotional response is evoked. English departments around the country should be ashamed if this book is still required reading. Pick another book and don't drive away a love of reading with this feeble, shallow "coming-of-age" novel. Or at least give it away for free . . .
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