Review: A Separate Peace

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A Separate Peace Book Review
3 of 5 stars to A Separate Peace, a novel written in 1959 by John Knowles. I suspect if I were to re-read this “classic” again now, it has a chance of getting a higher rating; however, I’m not in a rush to prove the theory. I have a few good memories of the story, some a bit “blah,” but overall… it was a decent book. When I read The Secret History last year, I had vague recollections of this being somewhat similar, though the topics are quite different.

At the core, this is a coming-of-age story focused on Gene and Finny, two polar opposite boys at a prep school around the time of WW2. An accident occurs which may have been deliberate, thus becoming the focus of the story. As a result of the accident, one of the characters suffers an injury that prevents him from continuing on his path to the Olympics. Friends take sides. Families wonder. But the friends try not to question it. Until other people force them to. And in the end, there is pain, death, forgiveness and unexpected consequences.

The book is a good juxtaposition of lifestyles and choices. It makes you think about what you’d do in such a situation. How far can one person be pushed? And when you do something wrong, do you tell anyone, especially if you can get away with it? Lots to teach young adults, learning to make their own decisions and set a path for their life.

I enjoyed the story, but I would have preferred a more modern setting. I’m not a fan of excessive sports or war, and these were two central themes in the book, which ultimately led me to feel partially disconnected. But the parts inside the character’s head, questioning motives, being psychological in their analysis, were the ones worth reading.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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4 thoughts on “Review: A Separate Peace

    Isabelle Hernandez said:
    May 19, 2017 at 9:14 AM

    When I read this book in Junior year of High School our teacher convinced us that Gene and Phineas were the same person… I’ve yet to reread it to see if I get that same sense as an adult but at the time our minds were blown by her revelation.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      May 19, 2017 at 9:16 AM

      Wow… how interesting. I suppose I could see that as a twist, if it were just those two characters and never anyone else. I may have to try re-reading it now!


        Isabelle Hernandez said:
        May 19, 2017 at 9:19 AM

        She made us watch the movie, in the movie when they take Finny away in the ambulance Gene is the one in the ambulance not Finny – granted this was 20 years ago, I have to rewatch it but this was the only thing we liked about this book, when the revelation came it somehow made us interested in the book. Henceforth I was pretty annoyed when I watched Fight Club…

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        May 19, 2017 at 9:20 AM


        Liked by 1 person

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