Some of these questions took me a little while to think about, while for some of the other questions, I think I knew the answer before I started typing out the question. This is one of the ones where I knew the book I was going to choose immediately. We’ve all had to read several books for English classes, and I’m sure that there were a few we enjoyed, and many more that we didn’t like so much. My favorite book that I had to read for school is A Separate Peace by John Knowles.
This book is the story of two friends who are at a New England boarding school in the early 1940’s. Phineas is very outgoing whereas his friend Gene is much more reserved. The book follows the two boys as they go through a summer that changes their lives forever.
Ok, so my little summary there doesn’t make the book sound especially interesting, but the way the book is written is brilliant. Phineas is a larger than life character, but Gene is our viewpoint character and for me at least was very easy to relate to. He is the person who is as capable as anyone else in the school at nearly everything, but he is much more humble about everything he does.
And now for the real reason that I consider this one of my favorite books. During my classes discussion of this book, I started a bit of an argument with the rest of the class (minor spoiler) about whether or not Gene bounced the tree limb (if you’ve read the book you know what I’m talking about). During our class time, we started bouncing this idea back and forth. Did he have the motivation? Was he smart enough to pull it off? What did he think about the consequences of his actions? My English teacher at the time realized that we were having fun discussing this and rearranged her lesson plans so that we could have a mock trial with the members of our class serving as the prosecution, defense, witnesses, and defendant. (I was a member of the prosecution.) We were even able to get some people from another class to come in and serve as the jury. It was one of the most enjoyable week or so that I’ve ever had in school, and oddly enough it came from one of the subjects I usually didn’t care for as much.
Aside from the enjoyment I had from my class doing a mock trial based on the story in the book, it really is a really good book and it’s one of the very few books that I had to read for school that I have purchased and read again after school. The book is well written with a strong main character and an interesting plot. I highly recommend it.