This is an older book, wrtiten in 1967, and some of the events are dated; even so the themes are both profound and universal. That's what makes it a classic, I guess. It had an impact on me in several ways. One chief one was in understanding how one traditionally studies the Torah - reading commentaries throughout the ages by Jewish sages on various sections. Another was in the nature of friendship and the power and committment of spiritual friendship.
It is a bildungsromans, a coming of age book, about two boys brought together because of an accident while playing baseball for rival teams. Although they come from different jewish backgrounds, they become friends and college classmates. The story focus on the two and each of their relationships to their fathers.
In addition, the book may deepen the reader's understand the Jewish faith and various branches (Orthodox and Hasidic Judaisim), along with particular perspectives such as the horror of WWII, what is unique about American Jews, and even some of the conflict over the Israel as a Jewish state.
Chaim Potok, 1929 to 2002, and his family immigrated from Poland. He became a rabbi after four years of study in the Jewish Theological University.