• A Separate Peace

  • By: John Knowles
  • Narrated by: Scott Snively
  • Length: 6 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (1,238 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Now a modern classic, this story of two boys' friendship at an exclusive New Hampshire prep school as it parallels the inescapable and escalating atmosphere of World War II, is intense and engaging to the last word.
©2003 John Knowles (P)2002 Audio Bookshelf

Critic Reviews

"Snively does an excellent job conveying emotions in scenes of conflict...This is an excellent treatment of a modern classic." ( AudioFile)

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What listeners say about A Separate Peace

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

How can one fault a Classic like this?

This is probably one of John Knowles' most popular titles and represents a coming of age story between two friends over the course of a year. It has a very sobering tone and can be perceived as very 'heavy' in terms of the overall ending of the title. The author doesn't in any way spare you from the realities of that time and provides no 'magical fixes' for any of the problems the boys at the Academy faced. This book does in fact teach some rather jarring life lessons through its exquisite writing and sheer honesty.

The narration for me was lacking. I found myself somewhat steeling myself to get through the book. Had it not been for my 'grit your teeth and get through it' mentality or the fact that I simply enjoyed the book's content, I wouldn't have made it through the title.

I am taken back in time to when I first started getting into books with this one. Reading, or in this case listening, the classics always tending to produce in me a sense of nostalgia for the past, a time dated in the early 90's when I was just a kid.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Thoughtful; great character development.

If you're looking for an exciting adventure story--this isn't it. But if you enjoy listening to a slower story that deals with adolescence, peace and war, and the relationships of different personalities, this is a great read. It is well written, thought-provoking, and does a great job drawing emotions that most of us experience but rarely think about.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

I can't see why this title is considered an American Classic.
It strikes me as an unsignificant adolescence novel. Nothing in the plot or writing makes it memorable, which is very odd, given the fact it centers on puberty during World War II.
Not to mention all the "growing up" cliches.

The narrator was ok though.

9 people found this helpful

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Good story

I listened to this because my daughter had to read it for eight grade. I probably would not have read it if otjerwise, but I am glad that I did. The narrator was very good and the story kept me engaged.

4 people found this helpful

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I loved it!

This was one of my summer reading books for my high school, and I struggled when trying to read it in my head. I instead listened to this while reading along with the printed book.

I did notice that there were some word changes in the narration, I don't know if it was the narrator improvising or my book, but it didn't in any way affect the story line (ex. when the word in my book was "huge" the narrator said "large," little things like that). But other than that, the narrator did an excellent job in portraying the characters in general, as well as the many emotions in the novel.

As for a review of the book, it was very touching and I loved it. The writing did get a bit slow and confusing at times, but nothing too bad. I felt like I was there, right along side Gene and Finny...in a word, it's just spectacular! :D

4 people found this helpful

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Still good

I read this book multiple times in high school and college, about 25 years ago, and revisited when students at my school were reading it. I found the story is still captivating and interesting, a relief when other recently revisited classics had lost their luster for me. Knowles' exploration of jealousy set at a prep school at the dawn of WWII still holds relevance today as today's teens struggle with that emotion in the midst of the technology age.

3 people found this helpful

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  • SJ
  • 02-25-13

essay assistant

I am reviewing this on behalf of my 16 year old, who could not get through the printed book and needed to do well on this in order to be allowed to play baseball. The audiobook was more accessible than the written word and he found the story "okay", but his comments were that the writer made little effort to be theatrical in his reading and was extremely slow paced. It was hard for him to stay focused on the story and he would have sped up the reader about double if he had a speed control on his player. Given all that, he did much better than he would have just reading the book on his own and so it was definitely worth the money. At some point I will read it myself and give a 'non 16 year old' review.

3 people found this helpful

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Outstanding Story and Was Read Very Well!!

Would you listen to A Separate Peace again? Why?

I would listen to this story again, simply because of the different voices the reader used to allow me to know which character was speaking. It was fun and easy to follow.

What did you like best about this story?

The characters came to life.

What does Scott Snively bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A broader sense of the characters personalities.

If you could take any character from A Separate Peace out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Finny!!!

Any additional comments?

I love the name Phineas now!!!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Not the voice I grew up with

For me this is a very special novel and a classic from the first time I read it in high school. It is a novel about same sex attraction and how those feeling can go awry when not well understood. But after I started listening to the audiobook I realized the narrator was not living up to the voice in my head. He did have the pathos & gravitas I'd imbued in this book over the years. I felt his reading was matter-of-fact with drama. In disappointment I had to stop listing before the first hour was over.

3 people found this helpful

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  • M
  • 04-14-15

The narcissist

Any additional comments?

This book should be offered as a psychological study of the power and peril of being in a relationship with a narcissist. This is the kind of book that turns kids off to reading.

2 people found this helpful

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  • JL M.
  • 12-09-20

An American classic done well

I really enjoyed this reading of 'A Separate Peace'. The book itself pulls you in gently, quietly and leaves you with a real sense of pathos. This recording conveys that mood successfully and helps establish the major characters well.