Book Review, "The Giver"
Written by: Lois Lowry
Review By: Nancy L. Brown, Ph.D
If you are the parent of a child in grades four through eight, this is a great opportunity for the two of you to read a book together. I suggest you buy two copies of The Giver (1993) before a long winter weekend or a camping trip – which is how I read and reviewed this book for KidSource.
Unfortunately, when I finished reading, I was not warned that there would be no one to talk with about it, no one to understand why a book for kids brought tears to my eyes and left me thinking about the value of every one of life's "complications."
In this book, Lois Lowry does a magnificent job of presenting the inherent conflict between balancing the values of freedom with security, belonging, and comfort. At first, the order, ritual, and serenity of the community where the central character – Jonas, age 12 – lives is very appealing and makes perfect sense.
Families share meals, talk about feelings and dreams, children are happy, ordered, and well-cared for. There is a pattern to everything. Slowly however, as you read further, you learn that all might not be as it seems in this paradise, and Jonas – as the new Receiver of Memory – grows up fast as he struggles with a life or death dilemma, and a new found sense of responsibility.
Be prepared to talk about life's joys, sorrows, and stages. You and your child will become sensitized to all of the choices you make each day, as well as the value of sorrow, struggle, and conflict. This is an outstanding book for parents and children and an opportunity to talk about values and civil rights without another parental lecture.
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Reviewed By: Adolescent Interest Group
Last Reviewed: August 2013