A Separate Peace

Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
A Separate Peace
Set at a boys' boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world. A bestseller for more than thirty years, A Separate Peace is John Knowles's crowning achievement and an undisputed American classic.

Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2003, c1987
Edition: 1st Scribner trade pbk. ed
ISBN: 0743253973
Branch Call Number: CLASSICS FIC K
Characteristics: 204 p. ; 22 cm.


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May 12, 2014
  • MADKC4Ever rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

First off, let me just say that I was not forced to read this book in school. The other English classes were, but my teacher told us she hated it, and refused to do it. Well, as I got to hear more and more about it, and after hearing various opinions from other people, I decided to buy it at the used book store and have my own opinion. And I honestly don't know what to think about this book. Since I didn't have the help of an English teacher, probably 99% of the metaphors flew right over my head, but I still thought it was a nice story. I knew the ending before I even opened it, but I still read it all the way through, because I was thought it was interesting enough. It's also a war story, without it being a "way story," you know what I mean? Its set back in World War Two, and the school the charecters attend is focused on getting boys prepared for the draft, but its not like a war story, where it's all happening on the battlefield. I can't stand the main charecter, Gene, even by the end of the book, even though you're supposed to feel remorse for him. I can see why some people hate it, and completely see why my sophomore English teacher refused to teach it. It's a very aquired taste, and not a lot of people 14-17 are going to want to pick it up. I happened to enjoy it, but it would be better to know what you're getting into before you tackle the book.

Sep 18, 2013
  • NatalieAlisa rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Infinitely rereadable!

Apr 26, 2013
  • britprincess1 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A very eloquently told story, in near entirety a flashback, of a boy whose jealousy got the better of him. In the world of frenemies that exists, this tale resonates, but speaks of the travesties of war, real and imagined, internationally waged and personally crafted, in such a way that is impactful. Adolescent identity is made in these moments, these choices, and, as one who cares very little for war stories and war films and the like, I was pleasantly surprised by this tale set during WWII. Perhaps it was because of the lack of actual historical battles, despite being amidst the culture of it, that I enjoyed this book, as it was wholly set within the context of a high school, something nearly everyone has experienced. The characters seem real, the dialogue natural. I loved the flow of it all, with all its twists and turns, and I completely understand why it is considered a classic. I highly recommend A SEPARATE PEACE.

Jan 23, 2013
  • BantamBrain rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This book still wows me. It is a subtle story. No quick violence or fast humor, but a slow tense march to a devestating finale.

Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Although WW2 is always present on the sidelines of this story, waiting to destroy the innocence of youth, the focus is more on the inner turmoil that exists in a close friendship-- the jealousies and ugliness just below the surface, the blackness within men that is so necessary for war. Well-told and tragic.

Nov 11, 2012

@splashcrash I agree

Jul 19, 2012
  • Joshua716 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A Separate Peace, tells a great story. I truly admire Knowles' characterization. He created Gene and Phineas as two clashing characters and really puts the reader inside the mind of Gene. It frankly changed the way I look at life and the way I feel that an event can change someone's outlook. I strongly suggest reading this book.

Feb 05, 2012
  • ukiuq rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I think this novel received a bit too much hype but, overall it provides a picture of the hardships faced by a group of friends during the wartime. I didn't enjoy as much as I thought I would but, I wasn't disappointed in the outcome.

All in all, I strongly recommend for those liking coming-of-age, wartime shock, and friendship-focused stories (pretty specific, I know, but worth a read if that's what you like).

Mar 10, 2011
  • Algonquin_Lisa rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of the best coming of age novels ever. Moving, and a bit dark but not overly so. It's about remorse after having done a terrible thing to a friend.


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May 12, 2014
  • MADKC4Ever rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

MADKC4Ever thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Feb 05, 2012
  • ukiuq rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

ukiuq thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Everyone has a moment in history which belongs particularly to him. It is the moment when his emotions achieve their most powerful sway over him, and afterward when you say to this person "the world today" or "life" or "reality" he will assume that you mean this moment, even if it is fifty years past. The world, through his unleashed emotions, imprinted itself upon him, and he carries the stamp of that passing moment forever.


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A Separate Peace
Knowles, John, 1926-2001
A Separate Peace

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