The Giver by Lois Lowry

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The Giver is a story about a boy who is chosen to carry the burden of an entire society’s memories and feelings.  People in his community value sameness and following rules.  Jonas (the main character) is chosen as the next in line to carry the heavy burden for the rest of society, so that others don’t have to feel pain, confusion, fear, etc.  As Jonas progresses in his training, he decides that it is not right that the people in his community should not have to help carry the burden.  In the end he leaves to find an alternate type of society, not only to force the people to feel again, but to save somebody who is in danger.  It’s the Newbery Medal winner for 1994.

I read The Giver as a kid, and I remember that it had a great impact on my thinking.  It helped shape my understanding of feelings, the role that we should play in our society, right and wrong, what is important in life.  For that reason, I wanted to share it with my boys.  There were parts of the story where I changed the wording as I was reading.  There were also sections/topics that caused my boys a bit of discomfort or which they didn’t quite understand.  This led to many interesting conversations and some deep thinking.

I would recommend this book for older school-age children or teens.  It depends partly on the child’s maturity level.  There are some parts of the story that would be shocking and/or confusing to some children.  I would also recommend that parents read the book first, to judge whether or not it’s appropriate for their child.

Possible Objections:

  1. Something called “the stirrings”–basically when the main character starts to be sexually attracted to the opposite sex.  It’s in chapter 5, if you want to check it out.  I changed the wording while reading aloud to my boys.
  2. Children are allowed to bathe older people, while fulfilling their volunteer hours.  It is only talked about as a caregiving action.
  3. An infant who happens to be a twin is injected with a lethal drug and dies.  For us, this brought up a discussion about abortion.

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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