Friday, February 19, 2010

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry was a book I was excited to have the chance to reread. I had previously read The Giver in middle school, and I absolutely loved it. Although it has been years since I read the book, I still loved it. The content of it really sparked my curiosity throughout the entire book. Because of it's unique plot, I found myself constantly wanting to keep reading and to learn more about the society Jonas, the main character, lives in.
One of the most intriguing aspects of this book to me is the actual society the characters live in. To put it simply, it seems "perfect" at times, but it is also terrible. It makes readers try to think about their own priorities. What would you give up to live in a society where crime, hunger, conflict, and other social problems don't exist? What price would be too high? The ability to choose mates, have children, love, and control your future? Although I think this society's cons outweigh the pros, I found myself thinking about what it would be like if this was how the world was.
Another aspect of this book I loved was the relationship between the Giver and the Receiver and their interactions. The author did an excellent job of painting a picture of the memories that were transmitted through the Giver to Jonas. As a reader, I felt as though I knew exactly what Jonas was going through and what he was "seeing". The descriptions were done so well with strong adjectives and verbs.
There are many controversial topics in this book. One issue I could see some readers becoming upset is releasing (killing) individuals who are old of "unfit". It made me cringe because I knew what was happening before Jonas did this time around when I read the book. Of all the extreme actions taken in the community to prevent grief, sickness, and differences between the people, this seems the most bizarre. I would not recommend this book for middle elementary students because it could upset some students. However, I feel as though it is completely appropriate for grades 6+. In fact, I think it is a great book for students that age to be exposed to.
What would the world be like without some of the difficulties faced in society today? Well, The Giver gives a little insight to how it could be if the world went to "sameness". It would be a great conversation topic for the students to imagine their own "perfect world" and to think of the consequences.
If I could change one thing about this book, I would want the ending to give more information as to what happens. It would be a great sequel, but even a few more details about Jonas finding "Elsewhere" would have left me with more closure. I kept wanting to know what was next for he and Gabriel. When a reader doesn't want a book to end, that is a great book. The Giver is one of them.
I am pleased I was given the chance to read this book again. I am curious to how others reacted to this book because it is so unusual. I love it, but I would be interested to see if that was how the majority of the class feels about this novel. Either way, I would definitely include this book in my curriculum if I was teaching the appropriate grade levels.

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