Weekend Read! The Giver by Lois Lowry

While many younger readers are saying “The Giver didn’t we have to read that in school? Why would I want to read it again?” believe it or not, not everyone has read The Giver. The Giver was written in 1993, and only somewhere between 1994 when it won the Newberry Award and 1996 then it won the William Allan White Award, did it land itself on the school required reading lists. For us old farts who were too old for this book to be required, and in our tween and teen years could have cared less about a kiddie book like The Giver, and in our college years passed it over for those books that would enrich our minds like Slaughterhouse Five and War and Peace (because we all read that by choice…) we may have missed this little gem and may have no idea what enrichment it offers to an educated, inquiring, adult mind.

In a dystopian future, the protagonist, Jonas, is awaiting the time of ceremony where each child, depending on their age, is given something that defines that year of their life and will help them in the future. When the book opens, Jonas and his family are going though a period of adaptation. Jonas is awaiting the ceremony of 12 to be assigned his job that he will train for over the next year, his sister is awaiting the ceremony of  8 where she will receive her more adult jacket with smaller buttons and pockets and she will get to start her volunteer hours, his mother is a judge who is helping with the ceremony preparations, and his father is a Nurture who is showing special attention to an infant who is developing slower and gets permission to bring him home for one year to give him special nurturing.

There is so much to this tiny book that it would be impossible to summarize it with out giving away so many of the mysteries that make The Giver unique. It is truly a  strange and enthralling novel. It sucks you into a world that is exactly like our own except it is stripped of reality. There are “nuclear families” and school, and jobs, and homes, and stuffed animals, and food and every other thing one might need. The people in Jonas’ world are happy, life is perfect, but only because they don’t know any better. Everything is the same for everyone. It always has been and always will be.

Without giving away details or the ending, this title is something that you just need to read to get and even then it is hard to grasp. It is indescribable without giving it away, and yet even when everything is said and done one is left with this feeling of emptiness that creates an almost need for more, of which there is none.

 

At only 179 pages, The Giver is easily a weekend read. Pick it up and take a step back to childhood this weekend and see what an adult world it can be.

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