The Chosen Chapters 1-7

I thought I was doing so badly with only being in the second chapter, then I realized that the chapters in this book are much longer than those in AoGG.

So, I'm about halfway through, and although I've come far, I still kind of feel like the book is just getting started. It's almost like I'm waiting for the plot to finally show itself. So far it's almost been a day-to-day journal entry for the main character. The characters are pretty good, Danny, Reuven, and Reuven's father being my favorites. Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying it, it's interesting to me to see the differences of application when it comes to the Jewish religion. My religion is so standard all around the world, that it's hard to imagine two congregations living so close together and being so very different. I guess technically they're not the same religion though, they make the distinction of the Hasidic sect as opposed to Reuven's, for which I can't recall the label.

As I think over what I have read so far, the first event that jumps to my mind is when Danny comes to visit Reuven  in the hospital. Anyone can relate to Reuven's reaction. Knowing that he could lose his sight makes him feel vulnerable, and afraid, and he lashes out. Of course, I sided with him on that one. The description of Danny's face right before Reuven got hit was pretty frightening to me, so I felt like Danny did what he did on purpose. But, listening to Reuven's father a bit later, I felt the same guilt I think Reuven must have felt. Of course Danny hit it like that. Reuven knew he would, and yet he didn't duck because of his pride. Technically, knowing what he knew, it's his own fault that he was injured.

I had a similar experience with this type of situation recently. Someone offered to print some papers for me, and said it would be done that night so that my husband could come pick them up the next day. Well, husband forgot, so it was two days later that he got there to pick up the printed papers. I had texted to make sure the person would be home, and was told that everything would be ready when my husband got there. This was important to me, because I'd had experiences with this individual in the past when he/she had not come through, and I did not want my husband to be inconvenienced in his doing me a favor. Well, that's exactly what happened. My husband arrived, the papers were not printed, and he ended up sitting around for about two hours, waiting for it to get done. Time when he could have been working on his school work. As it is, he is now behind on his calculus homework and is spending every moment he can to catch up. Now, was I upset? You bet! Was it my own fault for not making absolutely sure that it had already been done before my husband got there? Yes. I could try to push the blame off, but I know that ultimately I could have done more to make sure that the situation was avoided.

It's a rough position in which to be; knowing that if only Danny hadn't done what he did, Reuven would be fine, and also knowing that if only his pride hadn't chosen that moment to show itself, he would be fine.

As Danny continues to visit Reuven, and vice versa, they grow together. They find each other easy to talk to, and become friends. It's funny, because they seemed so different at first, but we come to realize that they are very much the same. They both have aspirations, they both have troubles. And now they have someone in whom to confide.

Danny's father is a frightening man to me. I'm with Reuven in that I don't really know what to make of him. The little brother of Danny seems frightened by just about anything and, from the descriptions given, he may be slowly dying. I haven't met Danny's sister yet, only heard her mentioned in passing. I just finished where Reuven returns very late from the Shabbat evening services at Danny's synagogue, and Mr. Malter sends him straight to bed.

Even though I still feel like there isn't really a plot, I find myself enthralled with the characters and wanting to keep reading to find out what the point of the story is. The fact that nothing has really happened since Reuven got hit, is getting me impatient to know what the next big event is.

My thoughts on chapters 8-18, and the book as a whole, will be up sometime Saturday.

Read on, friends, read on,

The Page Traveler

3 comments

  1. I agree that character development is at the heart of this novel. The plot is quiet because the development of theme and character is so profound and beautiful. I think that Danny's father, when seen through Reuven's eyes, is foreign and a little scary. But both Danny and Reuven's dad realize that Danny's father is complex and layered--perhaps the most layered character in the book. If nothing else, one of the most obviously apparent traits of Danny's father is his charisma--which is also a trait that is eerily mirrored in Reuven's dad. It might be fun to draw some Venn diagrams or character trait charts to see more clearly how the similarities and differences between these four characters play off each other. If I were to reread this book, I would be sure to indulge that nerdy impulse and make some of those charts. If you decide to do that, maybe you can take a picture of your chart and post it--I would be interested in seeing your observations. =)

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  2. Hmmm... I think I'll try. I'm not a very good critical thinker, so you may have to give me some constructive criticism, but I think that might be fun :-)

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  3. I finally got the book and I'm reading it now. I love the characters and the religious perspectives. I love that Danny says he wants to be a psychologist and trying to think about things until he understands them. His memory reminds me of my husband and how easily he learns things. But that also came from studying too. Though not the Talmud, it was memorizing a scripture each day as a missionary that gave him the incredible memory and ability to learn and understand difficult concepts.

    I hope that reading with you will stretch my mind a little (instead of the constant Elmo and talking in two-year-old language all day!) I'm feeling a lot happier and patient when I have a book to think about when it seems like I'm stuck inside all day with no human conversation. Wow, didn't mean to start venting! Yep, enjoying The Chosen! :)

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