Title: The Giver
Author: Lois Lowry
Challenges: Take Another Chance Challenge (Challenge 4: Prize Winner Book - Newbery Medal, 1994); 451 Challenge; Read 'n' Review Challenge
From Publishers Weekly:
In the "ideal" world into which Jonas was born, everybody has sensibly agreed that well-matched married couples will raise exactly two offspring, one boy and one girl. These children's adolescent sexual impulses will be stifled with specially prescribed drugs; at age 12 they will receive an appropriate career assignment, sensibly chosen by the community's Elders. This is a world in which the old live in group homes and are "released"--to great celebration--at the proper time; the few infants who do not develop according to schedule are also "released," but with no fanfare. Lowry's development of this civilization is so deft that her readers, like the community's citizens, will be easily seduced by the chimera of this ordered, pain-free society. Until the time that Jonah begins training for his job assignment--the rigorous and prestigious position of Receiver of Memory--he, too, is a complacent model citizen. But as his near-mystical training progresses, and he is weighed down and enriched with society's collective memories of a world as stimulating as it was flawed, Jonas grows increasingly aware of the hypocrisy that rules his world. With a storyline that hints at Christian allegory and an eerie futuristic setting, this intriguing novel calls to mind John Christopher's Tripods trilogy and Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Girl. Lowry is once again in top form--raising many questions while answering few, and unwinding a tale fit for the most adventurous readers.
My two cents:
I don't know why I waited so long to read this book. From what I can tell, this book came out when I was in either third or fourth grade, and I would have been in the perfect target range for this book. I read Number the Stars with my class in fifth grade and loved it, but I don't know what kept me from reading The Giver as well.
This is one of those books that everyone should read. It has so many lessons on things we should never take for granted, but often do; on the importance of memory; and on how one person's bravery can change the world.
I will admit: I was crying from around page 50 on. I had a feeling that "releasing" wasn't as joyful and great as it was made out to be, but that made it no less shocking when Lowry finally shows us a release. I think I bawled for five minutes straight, put the book down and tried to regain my composure before someone asked me what was wrong.
The best juvenile and young adult books speak not only to their target audience, but also resonate deeply with adults. This is definitely one of those books. I now want to purchase a copy and keep it in my house for when I have children. No one should miss this book.
My rating: 10/10