The Giver, when my daughter was in grammar school. I always made it a practice to read the same books as my daughter so that we could discuss them in detail. I loved getting her perspective on the material she read and the keen insight she always seemed to gain from the pages of a book.
This story by Lois Lowry has always been one of my favorites. It very much reminds me of the old cliche of looking at the world through rose-colored glasses.
The setting is a "perfect" community. All the citizens have jobs that are chosen for them by the Elders of the community that are best suited to their abilities. Just as their positions are chosen so are their families. Husband and wives are matched up--think back to the days of arranged marriages--and children are assigned. Birth mothers are not allowed to raise their children, but are merely the equivalent of brood mares.
To the citizens, all seems idyllic. This is their way of life, which seems normal and comforting. It isn't until a young boy, Jonas, comes of age and prepares to take on his role in the community does the rose-colored facade strip away and he sees the community for what it truly is: lost within their own complacency. He knows there has to be something better out there and with the help of The Giver, who is his mentor, and whom he is meant to replace, does he start to challenge the ideas of the Elders.
His delegated position as the new Giver demands that he take on both the pleasure and pain of the communities' memories. For the first time in his life he understands the beauty of color and the pain of war, the searing heat of the sun's rays to the delicacy of a fragile snowflake. It is the task of a mere child to bear the weight of both so that the citizens of this "utopia" can live in their dream-like world, carefree in their naivete.
I highly recommend this book for young readers. There are true lessons to be found within its pages about taking life as it is meant to be and how one must learn to accept both the highs and lows if they are to live a true full life, and in the grand scheme of things, what is more beautiful than that?
Share this book with a child you know today. It is worth the read for both the young and old.
Wishing you all a little adventure,
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