*SPOILER--I will reveal the ending of this book and it is wonderful so don’t do yourself the injustice of reading the post without having read the book. Pinky promise.
I finally read A Separate Peace. I read it in two sittings, racing from page to page. I loved it, was devastated by it.
I sat down just now to write about it, wandering about in my mind, peeking behind doors to figure out why I’d been so powerfully moved. Finally, my hands stumbled upon a switch and, as the light extinguished the dark, I saw clearly.
I’d been reading a book about my brother and I. I knew all long that my brother was Phineas, but I had no idea I was Gene. Until just now.
I never pushed my brother out of tree, but I fully resented his effervescence, the way everyone loved him, his innocence and delightful childishness.
Still… I could not help but enable his mischief and laugh at his jokes. I loved him as much or more than anyone ever did. I was an ever-faithful partner in countless acts of unreserved joy and, in trying times, separate peace.
When my brother died (like Phineas, still well within the realm of childhood, but just before the cliff of real-life) I spoke at his funeral and said I felt like I’d lost a limb.
Gene says at the end of A Separate Peace:
“I did not cry then or ever about Finny….I could not escape a feeling that this was my own funeral, and you do not cry in that case.”
I felt that way. I still sometimes do, like when Bobby died I died, the me I’d been with him.