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Peer Work

Home  >  Peer Work
Rosalyn's Letter to Chaim Potok
By Rosalyn Joy Thompson
Genre: Non-fiction Level: High School 10-12
Year: 2007 Category: Letters About Literature

December 8, 2006

Dear Mr. Chaim Potok,

In these past couple weeks I have read your book The Chosen. It has had more effect on me than I would have ever expected.

You see, my dad is an international cargo pilot, and has had that job for 7 years which keeps him away flying for half the month or, like recently, months at a time. He's a quiet guy to begin with and with that kind of schedule it's been hard to keep a genuine close relationship with him. What made this book so special to me is that he had originally recommended The Chosen to me when I was younger but at that time I was not able to really grasp it. But again, a couple years later, the same book was recommended to me by my 10th grade English teacher. I figured that since it had been pushed in my direction twice then it was bound to be something I should try to read again.

Did I read it?! No! I devoured it! Not only that but I understood it and I really felt like I was in the book. Through out the whole story of The Chosen, I felt that I was Reuven ... and Danny. At times I was in Reuven's shoes and at other times I was wearing Danny's earlocks.

When Reuven's father would counsel him, I felt that I was Reuven; although it was not Reuven's father talking; it was my own father talking to me. My father has never been good with words or any sort of communication for that matter, so in that way, I could see me and my dad's relationship mirrored, in the relationship between Danny and his father. To be able to see the same balance between the characters' lives and my own life throughout the book was amazing. I was able to draw several parallels between the distant relationship my dad and I have and the relationship Reuven and his father had; because although my father is very reserved, when he does speak he gives great advice, just like Reuven and his father. You know, it's hard to find books that really make sense but to find a book that made sense like this was ironic. It was something that I really needed. And it came at the perfect time.

At 16, a junior in high school, I'm doing the best I can to make acceptable grades and all the while being forced to figure out where I want to go in life and what I want to do. While reading The Chosen I was able to understand that me and my dad's relationship will get better in time but I also learned several lessons that are not only applicable for now but for the rest of my life. I realized that I don't need to be focusing on what I want to do in life. What I need to do is find "meaning in life." I need to find a meaningful path, not one that is forced. I discovered that it is not only where and what a person ends up doing in their life, it comes down to the fact of whether or not they have found meaning in it. So, instead of forcing myself into a decision I would rather not have to make, I will take time to figure out what I want to do with my life and find a path that will let me lead a fulfilling well-rounded life-with meaning.

While reading your book The Chosen, I had yet to realize the change that would take place in me and the advice and knowledge I would gain. Thank you, Mr. Potok. For that I can not thank you enough.

Sincerely,
Rosalyn Joy Thompson

11th Grade
Fairbanks, Alaska

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