Friday, May 14, 2010

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a perfect world. There is no crime, no war, and no sickness. Everyone is given a job that is perfect for his or her talents and character. But then Jonas takes on his job as the Receiver of Memories, and he has to be the community's collective conscience. As he takes in these memories, Jonas discovers that this world is not as perfect as it may seem -- and that sacrifices have to be made for the good of the group. The more he learns, the darker and more disturbing this world becomes. What will Jonas do as the keeper of this knowledge?

A fantastic novel about the individual and society that brings to mind some of the best dystopian literature.

I've always been attracted to any kind of novel about dystopia. Read this one with students in my English class. It was either loved or fiercely hated. 

Bibliotherapeutic value: While some scenes in this book are shocking, this is a great jumping off place for discussions with young people about community -- and what kinds of freedoms we're willing to give up for a harmonious existence. 

Lowry, Lois. The Giver. New York: Houghton, 1993. 
ISBN 0-395-64566-2. $13.95.

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