Wednesday, May 7, 2014

what we're reading wednesday: the giver

Can you believe I never read The Giver by Lois Lowry before now? I have a weakness for "young adult future dystopian" novels, and this one was, as far as I can tell, basically the first book of that genre.

It starts off following Jonas, the main character, who lives in a seemingly ideal community where everything is organized, everyone follows the rules, and all citizens are useful, content, and cared-for. Jonas is about to undergo the Ceremony of Twelve, when all twelve-year-olds in the community are assigned their future careers by the Elders-- who carefully take each youth's personality and ambitions into account, so that everyone gets exactly the right job. Jonas is selected for a job of special honor-- he is to be the next Receiver of Memories.

It is as he starts to receive Memories from the previous Receiver-- now the Giver of Memories-- that Jonas realizes his community may not be as ideal as he once thought.

I really enjoyed this book. Obviously it's won awards and become something of a modern classic, so you don't need me to tell you it's well-written and thought-provoking and troubling (in the best sense). If you haven't read it and are wondering whether it's appropriate for your child, be aware that it does address mature ideas, including euthanasia, death/war, and (quite subtly) sexual attraction. But I think it does so very appropriately, bringing to light the horror of the circumstances that should be horrifying, but not gratuitously.

Linking up with Jessica at Housewifespice! (Next on the list-- Something Other Than God, which FINALLY CAME IN THE MAIL!! I'm already 1/3 of the way through... after owning it for approximately 16 hours, a large proportion of which was taken up by annoying things like cooking dinner for my family, my workout group, and sleeping. I told my husband he could read it after I'm done, which will probably be when he gets home from work today.)

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