The Chosen // Review

THIS BOOK

I’m not entirely sure how to talk about this book. It’s almost a book you shouldn’t talk about. Or maybe it’s been too close to me finishing it and and I’m still in the “I have no words” stage. I’m still going to try. Maybe I’ll make sense of my own thoughts.

So what is this book I’m raving about? The Chosen, by Chaim Potok .

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Cover from Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It is the now-classic story of two fathers and two sons and the pressures on all of them to pursue the religion they share in the way that is best suited to each. And as the boys grow into young men, they discover in the other a lost spiritual brother, and a link to an unexplored world that neither had ever considered before. In effect, they exchange places, and find the peace that neither will ever retreat from again….

 

Not the greatest synopsis, so I’ll do my best to explain in my own words.

The Chosen is a story about a Jewish boy, Reuven Malter, and his friend, Danny Saunders. It takes place during and after WWII in the Jewish community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York City. Both boys come from very different backgrounds – Reuven is a modern Orthodox Jew, meaning that he can be involved in the secular world while sill remaining Jewish; and Danny is a Hasidic Jew, meaning that he supposed to be separate from the secular world and have nothing whatsoever to do with it. The two meet by accident at a baseball game gone wrong and at first become rivals, but then form a strong friendship. The story’s told from Rueven’s point of view, but more often than not it seems to be really Danny’s story.

I’ve already said it, but this book is amazing. It’s very subtly done, absolutely nothing knocks you over the head (except the baseball). It actually took me a chapter or so to get into it. I was mainly reading it because two people I respect very much said it was a masterpiece. But then, once I was past those initial chapters, I couldn’t stop. I’m not sure what it was. I mean, the prose was beautiful, but plot was totally different from most of what I read (it was more character driven, I’m a plot driven person). But the characters leapt off the page, but not in the vibrant way you’d expect. It was like they were breathing, gently, smoothly pulsing on the page. You wanted desperately what they wanted, even when they weren’t sure what they wanted. I actually found myself yelling (silently, there were other people in the room) at Danny at one point.

The themes were breathtaking. I don’t know exactly what they were – I’m very, very dense when it comes to that sort of thing, you really need to hit me over the head with it – but they were there, even if I can’t put an exact name to them. The questions and struggles that the characters asked and faced and answered were as real and breathing as the characters themselves.

For the last few pages of the book, which I shall not spoil, my eyes were wet. I didn’t even realize until about halfway through that I was crying. I still don’t know why I was crying. It’s not the things I normally cry about in books. Except that it was, in a way, now that I think about it. But that still doesn’t explain why I was crying.

When I had finished it, I wanted to be silent, to sit still and be quiet. Maybe to think, or maybe not. For the rest of the night after it, I really didn’t say much, which is very unusual for me. I didn’t feel the need to say anything.

The whole book was beautiful. If you ever get the chance, please read it. Your library probably has it, and if it doesn’t you can probably get it through inter-library loan. I think it was fairly popular a few years back. This is one I will definitely be buying my own copy as soon as I have the money.


In a separate note, before I go, there is an author I follow who’s trying to get people to sign up for his readers group. His blog is really good and really enjoyable to read (there’s so many really cool historical facts and posts) and he’s working on self-publishing his first novel, the Lamentation of Siren. I’m really looking forward to it. Anyway, he’s opened up a contest for people referring their friends to his reader’s group. I can tell you reliably that there is zero spam and no annoying emails. If you do sign up, email him and say I referred you? I get free stuff if a lot of you do. *grins* Thanks!
Here’s the link. You’re supposed to use the sign-up form in the actual post, not the one at the very bottom of the page: Nicholas Kotar Blog


Have you read the Chosen? Do you think you will read it? If you have read it, what did you think?

 

 

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A Question of Honor // Review + Interview

IT’S HERE IT’S HERE IT’S FINALLY HERE!!

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Welcome, one and all, to my small part in the Question of Honor blog tour! You might remember from the cover reveal post, the book releases today! By the time this post is published I’ll probably have already bought a copy. Links’ll be down below somewhere so you can go get a copy, too.

And here’s the cover again, along with the synopsis. Look at the beauty!

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A man. A child. A war. 
When German soldiers invade France during World War II, young Joyanna’s perfect world is shattered. In the hands of those who hate her, she battles to comprehend why people can be so ruthless and cold toward those whom they have never met. 
David Sullivan, pilot in the Royal Air Force, was certain he would never hate, but a painful loss forces him to either reconsider or do the inconceivable—forgive. He is suddenly challenged by the realization that doing God’s will is not easy, but most important. With the lives of freedom-fighters relying on him, he must learn the difficult lesson that he is not in control, but merely one who must surrender his heart of obedience to One greater.
A sudden turn of events lands Joyanna and David in the same country—but for far different reasons. When their paths cross, David finds he must make a decision that will affect them both for the rest of their lives. 
Will he choose vengeance, or will he let his life be ruled by a higher standard? A standard of Honor.

Find on Amazon and Goodreads

And about the author, Jesseca Wheaton:

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Jesseca is an 18-year old daughter, sister, and a child of God. Her days are spent reading, cooking, spending time with siblings, or playing piano.  And writing, of course! At an early age words fascinated her, and her love for the printed page has only grown. She lives with her parents and seven siblings in the sunny state of Kansas, and she’s convinced there’s no place like home.

Website~Blog~Amazon~Goodreads~GooglePlus~Pinterest~Instagram

And now, as my blog post title says, I’ve got both a review of the book and an author interview. Here they are!

The Review

This was one of those books, for me, where after I finished it I sat back and said “wow”. This almost never happens to me, at least in my recent memory. As my temporary review on goodreads said:

Image result for i laughed i cried it moved me bob gif

And it really did make me do all those things. I just… I really loved this book.

What I liked:

  • The characters. They lived and breathed and jumped off the page. They’re relationships were so much fun to read, especially Gil and David’s relationships with each other and their wives, and Joyanna’s relationship with the world and everyone in it. *grins*
  • Gil. Gil is hands down my favorite character.
  • David’s character arch, which I won’t go into too much detail on because spoilers, but it was really well done, in my opinion.
  • The themes and questions this posed and answered. Is it alright, is it necessary for Christians to fight? This is something I’ve been doing a ton of thinking about lately, and this book honestly helped me answer some of my questions, or at least made things clearer. And the theme of forgiveness, too,  was powerfully woven in.
  • The time period. I’m not generally a huge fan of the WWII era (mainly because of all the truly horrific things that happened then), so I haven’t read a ton of historical novels set in that period. I absolutely loved the way the time came alive in the way the characters spoke and acted. It reminded me of the time when I constantly read and watched the American Girl Molly books and movies.

What I disliked:

  • I didn’t know quite how old Joyanna was until pretty much the last chapter, so I went through the book with the impression that she was supposed to be 5. This kind of ruined my enjoyment of some of the scenes, since the little voice in my brain kept going “that is not how five-year-olds talk she sounds much older than five.” That was more a just-me thing, though, and pretty much my own fault.
  • There are a few times where the characters basically speak in Scripture quotations. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, of course, it just came across as stilted in written dialogue and pulled me out of the story for a bit. I’d have more of a problem with it if it wasn’t for the fact that I actually know someone in real life who does so, so it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility.

At the end of the day, I highly recommend this book and would give it 4.5 stars.

Author Interview

Before I start – the last question is entirely spoiler, completely and totally. I’ve put in white ink. To read it, highlight the blank space at the end of the list and it should show up. DO NOT READ IT UNTIL YOU’VE READ THE BOOK

1.) What draws you to write about WWII?
Well, my great-grandfather served in WWII. That got me interested in the time period, and once I started researching and looking into it, I couldn’t stop. There are so many different, diverse areas of WWII. So many mysteries that still surround it, and so many brave men and women who lived during that time in history. And it really didn’t happen all that long ago.
I think another thing that really got my attention was the fact that there are still people alive who remember the second world war. For them it wasn’t something they learned in history class. This was their life. They remember seeing Hitler rise to power. They felt the icy breath of war envelop the country when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Their accounts of it are chilling. To think that this man I talked to fought in the battle of Iwo Jima. This man was there. It just opened my eyes, and I wanted to be able to tell their stories before they were gone. These men and women truly served for a greater purpose than themselves, and they deserve to be remembered.
2.) What sparked this story in particular?
That seems like it was so long ago. The story idea actually came from some pictures on Pinterest, if I remember correctly. One picture was of a couple bidding each other farewell at at train station. The other was of a little French girl on the lap of an American soldier. The story has changed a TON since then, and it’s completely different than what I started out with, in more ways than one. But yes, pictures from pinterest, and an interest in WWII is what sparked the story idea.
3.) What is your favorite thing about this book?
Ahhh, you’re asking me to pick something?! Okay, honestly, it was Erich’s story. He’s just such a conflicted person, and he was one of the hardest to write. Character wise, he took me in a direction I had never gone before.
The other favorite thing . . . the trick airplane scenes between David and Gil in the 2nd chapter. I just adore that part so much! ^_^
4.) And lastly, WHY ON EARTH DID YOU DO THAT TO GIL?!?!
Gil’s story was one of my favorites to write. And also on of the hardest.  But you know when you feel like the story has to take a certain turn, even if you don’t like it? Yeah, that’s what happened with Gil. It was probably the hardest writing decision I’ve ever made. Gil was my favorite character next to David. But I think that it was needed to show the harsh reality of the war. Also, I it played a huge role in David’s character development throughout the book.
So why did I do it? My favorite answer to this is . . . His time on earth was up. I was his time to go home.
Thank you, Jesseca!
Before you go, head over to Jesseca’s blog right here. She’s been posting various cool facts about A Question of Honor, so you should check it out. And you should head over to Amazon and pick up a copy ’cause it’s available now. *bounces*
If you want to, you can check out all the other stops on the tour. Most of them are already posted, but there’s a quite a few left for tomorrow.

Wednesday: March 1st
Angela Watt — Review/Author Interview @ The Peculiar Messenger
Faith Potts — Author Interview @ Stories by Firefly

Thursday: March 2nd
Kellyn Roth — Review @ Reveries Reviews
Faith Potts — Review @ Stories by Firefly
Kaitlyn K.– Book spotlight/Author interview @ Twin Thoughts

Friday: March 3rd
Deborah C.– Book Spotlight @ Reading in June
Soleil B.– Book Spotlight @ Reviews by Soleil
Victoria Lynn — Book Spotlight/Review @ Ruffles and Grace
Brianna Henderson — Review/Author Interview @ Ramblings of a Pilgrim on the Way
Anika — Review/Author Interview/Book Spotlight @ Anika’s Avenue
Rebekah Ashleigh — Review @ Rebekah Ashleigh

Saturday: March 4th
Livi Jane — Review @ Living for the Other Side
Victoria Lynn — Author Interview @ Ruffles and Grace
Emily Putzke — Author Interview @ Taking Dictation
Julia Ryan — Review @ The Barefoot Gal
Rebekah Eddy — Book Spotlight/Author interview @ Rebekah’s Remarks

And finally, it appears that there’s a give away. *bounces* You can win a physical copy if you live in the US, and an ebook if you live somewhere else. Go ahead, enter… *pushes you toward the give away*



GIVEAWAY RIGHT HERE


And there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did! Thank you again, Jesseca, for doing it! See you all Monday. *waves*