Sunday, June 7, 2015
by Lois Lowry
The community Jonas lives in is extremely orderly: fifty new children birthed every year and assigned to a designated family unit - one mother, one father, one boy and one girl. At age 8, they begin volunteer assignments to identify future areas of work in which they may excel, at age 9, they get a bicycle, at age 12, they get assigned their career and start specialized training after school. Jonas was both excited and nervous about the upcoming Ceremony of the 12. Some kids had shown strong skills in one area or another and felt fairly confident about where they would be placed. But Jonas had no idea - nurturer? pilot? engineer? laborer? In his wildest dreams, Jonas would never have imagined the unique role he would be assigned, nor imagine how dramatically his life would change. "The entire ocean is affected by a pebble" (Blaise Pascal) and it turns out one small boy may change a world.
For all the fans of dystopian fiction out there, The Giver is an excellent - and clean - option. It's appropriate for tweens and teens (and it's also an enjoyable quick read for adults). There are a few mild descriptions of suffering and death, reference to the "stirring," and zero curse words. I highly recommend this book. I would have loved it as a tween and am a little sad it wasn't around then. It's deserves to become a classic because it entertains while helping to shape perspective about freedom and personal agency.