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Publisher's Summary

Though they've lived their entire lives less than five blocks from each other, Reuven Malter and Danny Saunders exist in very different worlds. Reuven blends easily into both his secular Jewish faith and his typical American teen life, while Danny's conservative Hasidic clothes and appearance make him stick out in any crowd. Their improbable friendship teaches them that the differences separating people through cultures and generations are never as great as they seem.
©1995 Chaim Potok; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Anyone who finds it is finding a jewel. Its themes are profound and universal." (The Wall Street Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • connie
  • Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 11-05-08

truly rates overused "classic" label

This listen managed to combine my two favorite types of lit - realistic depiction of another period (especially its social history) and reflection on faith in a troubled world.

I listened to this shortly after the more contemporary "Foreskin's Lament" and "Disobedience" -- and although I enjoyed those two (each in their own way)-- oh, how I wish I had listened to this first!

In addition to a beautiful "coming of age" portrait of two young Americans in the WWII/post war era, what a compassionate depiction of Jewish faith coming to terms with modernism! As other reviews point out, the novel portrays universal truths while giving outsiders to the Jewish faith a glimpse of its richness and diversity in the story's specifics. There are enough symbolism and imagery to satisfy a reader/listener without the literary complexity that demands much effort to digest.

I thank the reviewer who named Potok's follow-up novel, but since that is not on Audible (yet), I think as a follow-up, I will re-listen to Doctorow's "City of God" and hope for a re-release of "The Promise."

41 of 41 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Fascinating story

This book provides a fascinating glimpse of Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish culture but is also a griping story about friendship between two boys as they grow to adulthood. And the narrator does a fantastic job, making it fascinating to listen to, more so than reading the book in print. I wish the sequel to this (The Promise) was also available in audio form by the same narrator but unfortunately it is not.

32 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lisa
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 05-02-09

Top notch book!

Chaim Potok is an excellent novelist. The book depicts two very different father/son relationships and explores a deep friendship between two young men. It provides an accurate glimpse of Orthodox and Hassidic Jewish life and provides perspective on Judaism in post WWII America.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

How wonderful to revisit an old friend!

I first read The Chosen as a teenager. I loved it then. Listening to it now, 40 years later after raising children of my own, it had even more meaning to me. Jonathan Davis does a terrific job with the narration. The story of two Jewish boys in NYC at the close of WWII and the birth of the state of Israel is a compelling narrative of friendship, family and culture, with world politics woven in. The passage of time since the book was first published has only served to underscore its importance.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Janice
  • Cleveland, OH, United States
  • 03-26-11

"Must Read" for every parent

This story follows a delicate friendship of two Jewish lads, David & Ruven, their fathers and their different Jewish faiths (one Hassidic, the other not). There are few characters to keep up with but the last chapter is so moving, about understanding your children, not necessarily liking it, but loving them. I wish I would have read this years ago, perhaps my own angst with my children would not have been so dividing.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Tina
  • Nibley, UT, United States
  • 09-23-12

Religion with compassion and perspective

Would you listen to The Chosen again? Why?

I would listen again because this story was so much about being a real friend. The boys grown up in different backgrounds with similar religion but differing perspectives. I loved their sides and as they grew into men, how they changed and how they stayed the same.

Good friends are rare. They love us for the person we are and this story shows how two boys who have been separated through religious teachings have grown together and grown up.

Compassionate friendship with differences is what this book is about. I loved it!

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not listened to other performances by Jonathan Davis but his voice is sweet and melodious. I really felt these characters more through his voice.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I really tried to get back as soon as I could because I hated putting my player down! It was a great performance and I really enjoyed it.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • KarenLee
  • Beaufort, SC United States
  • 01-12-13

A favorite from my adolescence

Enjoyed this again 40 years after I first read it. I can still see my dog eared paperback in my mind's eye. It was and is still an interesting read from a time, place and culture totally foreign to me. I found I had a lot more empathy for Danny's father this time around

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • David
  • Lutherville, Md, United States
  • 11-13-12

Great story, well performed

If you could sum up The Chosen in three words, what would they be?


What was one of the most memorable moments of The Chosen?

The last scene where Danny's father finally speaks to him.

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

Excellent narrator

Who was the most memorable character of The Chosen and why?

Both boys and both father's are equally memorable for the contrapuntal roles that they play which illuminates and give dimension to the other character.

Any additional comments?

This is a modern day classic. A wonderful story, well told, and well narrated, with a great "punch" ending.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Patti
  • Chittenango, NY, United States
  • 09-02-13

Even Better The Second Time Around

I read this when I was young(er) in the 60's. I knew I thoroughly enjoyed it but could not remember why. It was fun going through the story again, discovering the fun parts! There are some parts of the story that drag on and certain situations are, well, I wonder about.

This is a story of two sons with two fathers. Although both are Jewish, their faiths take on very different lifestyles. The fathers, and how they are raising thier sons, are also very different. Reuven and his father are very close. In fact, their relationship seems too perfect. But that is besides the point. Danny and his father have a strained relationship, but it is still a positive one. How thse two boys meet and grow together as friends is a fascinating tale.

The narration is very well done. Davis differentiated between characters seamlessly and distinctly. He was a joy to listen to.

If you have never come across this classic, you will be ever so glad you found it. If this is not a new title, you will be thrilled to rediscover it!! Enjoy.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • C. Byrnes
  • Kissimmee, FL United States
  • 07-31-09


I must have missed the profanity spoke of previously. I don't recall any at all. This book about two boys coming of age and dealing with their beliefs was very good. It kept my interest from start to finish which is rare for me. I actually come back to see what else is recommended on this page.

Highly recommended.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful