63 - A Separate Peace
A Separate Peace is a guy book by John Knowles. It relates the love-hate rivalry of boarding school 16-year-olds Gene and Finny. Quiet and intellectual, Gene broods in the shadow of his polar opposite, the extroverted, carefree and athletic Finny -- against a backdrop of World War II. Among Finny's crazy ideas is to create a "Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session" with Gene and himself as charter members – and an initiation rite of jumping into the Devon River from a large, high tree. As Finny and Gene are about to jump, Gene purposely jounces the branch they are standing on, causing Finny to fall and shatter his leg – ending the sports career that is so vital to him. Did Gene really shake the branch? Did he hate Finny or love him? Can a 16-year-old know for sure? Not an easy read, this novel inspires the reader to consider those dark sides of who we are -- which we all would rather never admit.
~ Rob Kerby