a separate peace

A Separate Peace is one of those classics that seemingly should have crossed my path long ago, either as a student or a teacher.  I know it’s a book commonly taught in high school, but somehow I never had a reason to read it.  And so I decided to read it on my own, as part of the Classics Challenge I’ve been participating in.

A Separate Peace takes place over the course of one year at a New Hampshire prep school for boys during World War II.  I can see why it’s used so regularly in high school classrooms; the characters are at that age themselves, and the historical context provides an interesting angle to the coming-of-age story.  The novel certainly offers plenty of discussion opportunities; the decisions the characters make and the circumstances they find themselves in provide ample topics for thought and analysis.  And the book is definitely an accessible one, with language that would be manageable for most high school readers and a straightforward plot with distinctive characters.  So as a classroom text, I think A Separate Peace would be a great choice.

But just as an entertaining read?  Eh. 

It’s not that I didn’t like the book.  I did, well enough.  I would certainly be willing to teach it, and I would never warn anyone away from reading it.  But I didn’t love it.  I found it to be a little slow, and the dialogue to be a little stilted at times.  That being said, I’m glad I read it.  It’s one of those pieces of American literature that manages to provide a great snapshot of a certain place and time, and that in itself made it a worthwhile read. 

 


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~ by Molly on October 12, 2009.

One Response to “a separate peace”

  1. great review. to read my review of this classic tale, visit Elfgirl Books on this site! 🙂

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