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The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School

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You Have To Read “My Name Is Asher Lev” by Chaim Potok

You+Have+To+Read+%E2%80%9CMy+Name+Is+Asher+Lev+by+Chaim+Potok

No novel can compare to Potok’s. Photo courtesy of junior Co-Editor-in-Chief Karl Karsh.

  Students and staff at San Luis Obispo High School have all read a variety of books in their lifetime. However, not everyone is familiar with one of the best novels ever written, “My Name Is Asher Lev.”

  “My Name Is Asher Lev,” written by American author and rabbi Chaim Potok, is a thought-provoking fictional novel about a Hasidic Jew and artist, Asher Lev. As Lev grows from a young boy to a young adult, he illustrates his personal view of the world. Though he still has respect for his Hasidic community, Lev will have to find a balance between the expectations he carries from others and his gift.

  “While I read “My Name is Asher Lev” about 45 years ago, I still vividly recall how moved I was by the narrator’s struggles to find his own identity while remaining true to his community. While I also appreciated Potok’s “The Chosen” as an endearing story of growing up and friendship, I think the complexity of “My Name is Asher Lev” with its blending of allusions to art history and reflections on the creative process had an even greater impact on me,” said English teacher Ivan Simon.

  As Lev gets older, it becomes more apparent to others around him that he is different. 

  Lev’s entire community discourages him from being an artist. It’s hard to be isolated from his family and peers, and Lev struggles greatly with finding himself, as well as finding love from others. 

  However, even when it’s challenging, Lev finds his path as a true Jew and artist.

  This novel is extremely engaging and relatable in so many ways. It covers many themes, subjects, and dynamics, and by the end of each chapter, you are actively questioning aspects of your own life. 

  All of the characters teach you a lesson in some way, and you will find that as Lev begins to mature throughout the book, so will you as a reader. 

  This experience is one of a kind, making “My Name is Asher Lev” the best overall novel to ever exist. 

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Karl Karsh, Opinion Editor

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