The Chosen

By Anagha Gouru

Genre: Historical Fiction

Date of Publication: 1967

Author: Chaim Potok

Number of Pages: 271

Favorite Quote: "For the first fifteen years of our lives, Danny and I lived within five blocks of each other and neither of us knew of the other's existence.”

The Chosen traces a friendship between two Jewish boys growing up in Brooklyn at the end of World War II. Reuven Malter, the narrator and one of the novel’s two protagonists, is a traditional Orthodox Jew. He is the son of David Malter, a dedicated scholar and humanitarian. Danny Saunders, the other protagonist, is a brilliant Hasid with a photographic memory and a passion for psychoanalysis. Danny is the son of Reb Saunders, the pious and revered head of a great Hasidic dynasty. Over the course of eighteen chapters (divided into three books), the novel tells the story of the friendship that develops between the two boys, and it examines the tensions that arise as their cultures collide with each other and with modern American society. In Book 1, the readers learn about how Reuven and Danny meet. Danny and Reuven and their teams are playing each other in a neighborhood league baseball team. As stated earlier, Danny and Reuven have very different backgrounds and upbringings, and Danny’s team criticizes the Orthodox Jews and their culture, calling their culture apikorosim, or sinful. Reuven is enraged by this and when he pitches to Danny he decides to catch the impossible trick-shot ball that Danny hit just to show his anger. Turns out that was a bad idea. Reuven ended up getting a piece of glass from his glasses stuck in his eye and was sent to the emergency room. While he was in the hospital for almost a week, he grew to hate Danny even more. But on the sixth day in the hospital, Danny came to talk to Reuven and apologize. He wanted to become friends with Reuven… Does Danny’s wish get fulfilled? Will Reuven and Danny be best friends? Find out in The Chosen.

My favorite character was Danny, because even though he was a Hasid, he was also American and he embraced both cultures with humor. He also wanted to be a psychologist rather than a rabbi, and he was frank to his religious father, which I really admire. Danny was courageous, friendly, and humorous.

Some themes in this book are friendship, trust, family, and religion.

People should read this because it states that no matter what comes in the way of your friendship, if you are true friends, you should still stay friends. Friends are always there for you.

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