The Giver by Lois Lowry

I read The Giver around the time it was first published (~1995). I remember really enjoying this novel. I recently decided to revisit it because in the past few weeks, I saw a handful of bloggers writing reviews of it. The book is almost 20 years old and some people were now just hearing of it.

Give me a moment to backtrack. Looking back at my education, I feel very lucky that I attended schools where book banning wasn’t even a thought in anyone’s mind (teachers, students, or parents). I had no grasp of that concept. In fact, many of the required readings were books that are frequently on banned book lists : The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984, etc. etc. We even read Animal Farm in middle school.

I assume that these aforementioned bloggers were adults and lamented the fact that they were just being exposed to this book now.

Plain and simple, The Giver by Lois Lowry is fantastic. If you haven’t read it yet, you can take a look at the beginning available at  Google books.

As I re-read the book, I was amazed at how much of the entire narrative I remembered. I even remembered that Jonas was described with light eyes while the rest of the community had dark eyes. In one review, the writer asked if anyone knew what happened at the end of the novel….so, if you don’t want any bits spoiled for you, stop reading this and go finish the book immediately. Someone in the comment section said that in the past few years, Lowry made this into a somewhat loose trilogy and Jonas appears in the final book. I have no idea what these two other books are about but this is the way I see the ending of The Giver (okay, for real, last chance to avert eyes). After experiencing all of the past memories from a time that precedes the Sameness, some of these memories are elicited when Jonas is starving and exhausted and wandering through that unknown territory. The sled, the lights, the family in the house–all in his mind, but at least, now Jonas can feel and love.

While writing this, I have decided to add a new category: Banned Books. Hopefully, I’ll be able to identify a book I’ve read as one that is so often challenged and put this nifty little image at the bottom of the post to link back to any banned books I’ve written about.

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7 comments

  1. I read The Giver years ago and absolutely loved it.

    You know, despite having attended Catholic school my entire life (shivers at the thought), we did read a lot, even books that were normally challenged. I read Catcher, Mockingbird, Animal Farm, 1984, As I Lay Dying, etc… I was lucky. As a teacher, I make sure my students read these and as many books as I can them to read in a history class.

    And I LOVE the idea of the “I just read a banned book” tag. 🙂

    1. Thanks. I needed a bit of creativity today so I slapped that little image together.

      I’m glad to hear that others have also had the opportunity to read fantastic books. I don’t even think I new schools banned books until I read about it in college.

      on a side note: History has always been one of my favorite subjects. It sounds like you teach one fantastic class. Your students should be lucky. I even worked as a research assistant in grad school for two years for a history professor as he was finishing one of his books.

    1. For a book targeted at children (or I guess what is now labelled as YA), it has some really meaningful and BIG ideas about it. I’m so glad I re-read it. If you have a bit of free time, it really only takes a sitting or two. It practically flew by. It’s nice when a book like this gets coverage instead of a strange glistening vampire series that lacks substance.

  2. We never had any books that were banned. We read everything, but I think I did see this book and truthfully, the cover turned me off so much I didn’t even pick it up to find out what it was about. I recognized the cover immediately. Cover still makes me not want to read it. LOL Can’t help it.

    1. yes, I remember the cover being entirely unrelated to the book. It looked like a rabbinical text, quite frankly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Giver_Cover.gif). But you really should read it. It has my seal approve regardless of crummy cover. It’s an unnerving read, mostly because it is so like our own world. The movie trailer made it look really sci-fi, which I don’t think it is. I’ll still see it though.

      Books should never be banned. Even the crappiest of books should be accessible.

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