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Monday, October 22, 2018

The Giver

Do you have a book that you can read over and over and never tire of the storyline? A book that, even though you know the plot, twists and the final outcome, you return to time after time? For me, that book is Lois Lowry's The Giver.

I read this book for the first time in 8th grade English class. My teacher was brilliantly animated as she guided us through the book. Her lessons were bright and engaging as she introduced the idea of sameness in a bland colorless world; she really made my young mind stretch to see the picture painted with the words on the pages as I read. I could feel Jonas's internal struggle between what he had been taught as a child and what he was learning as the receiver with each new experience the Giver gave to him. 

The Giver is a beautifully written dystopian novel, set in a time and place where everything is controlled. The temperature is always perfect. The families are always a man, woman, boy, and girl. Members of the community are given milestones at a ceremony each year, the most important being their job assignment at their 12th ceremony.

Jonas was just like everyone else... or at least he thought he was. When it comes time to receive his job assignment, Jonas is singled out and skipped over, something that NEVER happens. After a long agonizing wait, Jonas is finally told that he is being given a special job title. He will be the Receiver of Memories and it will be his responsibility to hold all the memories for the community. 

I love this book because it really makes you think outside the box. Even as a young teenager, I was completely taken by this book and the challenges Jonas had to face. I especially loved how relatable the characters are. Lois Lowry did a wonderful job developing Jonas into a rule follower. Jonas's best friend, Asher adds a little comic relief, and their friend Fiona is so soft and loving. Her character is the balance between Jonas's need to conform and Asher's silly antics. 

Recently, The Giver was made into a major motion picture. I really liked the movie, although, as is usually the case, the book was definitely better. I highly recommend The Giver to anyone and everyone. I have read this book to my kids. We own no less than six copies and each of my children have read it, as well. 

As an added bonus, The Giver is part of a four-book box set, which includes The Giver, Messenger, Gathering Blue, and Son. I read The Giver, Messenger, and Gathering Blue separately before reading Son and realizing they're all connected. I didn't see the ending coming. I loved that way Lois Lowry brought the four stories together in the end. She is an amazing author.

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