Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lost Book Club - " The Chosen" by Chaim Potok

It all starts with a baseball game in Brooklyn. Reuven and his Modern Orthodox classmates play a baseball team made up of Hasidic classmates. There is a boy on the Hasidic team named Danny who can really swing at the ball. There's a lot of animosity flowing between the teams and when Danny wails on a ball so hard and fast that Reuven doesn't even have time to get out of the way it was obvious that the Hasidic team was "out to murder". Reuven is wearing glasses when he catches the ball with his face, specifically his eye.

Reuven is in the hospital for a long time recovering where he listens to the DDay invasion in Normany over the radio. One day Danny comes to visit and apologize but Reuven is having none of it! Reuven tells his father of Danny's visit and get's a strong reprimand from him, because Danny asked for forgiveness and didn't receive it.

Danny comes back to the hospital to try again and a burgeoning friendship is born. The boys hang out more and more.  Danny has a complicated relationship with his own rabbi father, where his father only talks to him if they are discussing the Talmud. Reuven thinks this is cruel, and it becomes kind of a sore spot between them. 

(I don't know enough about the different kinds of Judaism to speak intelligently about the differences between them so bear with me). Reuven's dad wants him to grow up and be a university professor like he is; however the older he gets (and through discussions with his own and Danny's father) he decides he wants to be a rabbi. Danny is expected to become a rabbi, because it's a position that is passed down through the family. Danny is incredibly smart and well versed in religion but he is fascinated by Freud and Darwin and psychology (all books that he reads on the sly).

It's a story about change; boys growing into young men, the birth of the nation of Israel, the end of a war, the death of a president and about a dozen more. While I don't think that I would read this book again, I think that it was a really interesting snapshot of a certain people and time and place and I'm glad I read it. A high 2.5 stars out of 5.

What does this have to do with LOST? Uh, I'm going to stretch here and say that the two boys are like The Others and the survivors. They occupied the same space for a long time without knowing each other, violent confrontation ensued but then they had more things alike than they had different? .....?...

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