Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Giver by Lois Lowery

Banned books!  There is probably no surer way of boosting book sales than to get your book banned!  Communities have been trying to ban books for as long as authors have been writing books, and this is very sad to me.  I love all books, even the books that I don't really love.  This year's reading challenge included reading a book that had previously been banned.  Check that one right off my list!

I recently read The Giver by Lois Lowery.  I didn't even realize that I had never read this book or that I should have read it 20 years ago.  My sister read this book, but I must have been too involved with Lestat and Louie to worry myself with this little gem.  My favorite Librarian and I were talking about the public school system and our ideas on how to improve it when she assumed I'd already read this book.  Since I hadn't, I checked it out right away.  Wow!  I really enjoyed this book!  I know it's dark and sad, but it's also smart and hopeful.

Jonas lives in a world where instead of birthdays, each year there is a ceremony for the children more like a graduation.  Each year comes with milestones like receiving their first bicycle and their first coat that buttons in the front.  Each year's promotion is supposed to help bring the children closer to being independent.  At the Ceremony of Twelves children receive their vocation and start career training.  The Elders spend several years observing the children's behavior, temperament and skills so that just the right occupation will be assigned to them.  It's rare that a career path is chosen incorrectly, but there is an appeal process if that happens.

Jonas is given the task of Receiver.  Once his training is complete, he will hold all the memories and emotions for generations of his people.  He will be the wisest member of the community!  Once his eyes are opened, though, Jonas is changed.  Will knowing this past, change Jonas' future?  Maybe the future of the whole community?

Now I don't really want to live in a socialist community were every decision is made for us, whether we like it or not.  I do like the idea of training children in a vocation that fits them rather than using each year to teach a study guide for the end of year test and teaching very little else.  Think!  Maybe some Elder somewhere would have seen that my calling was to be a librarian and not an accountant!  I sure didn't see it, at least not until I was in my 30s and it's sure hard to change career paths at this point.  Meh, it makes me who I am, I guess.  I always have this blog as an outlet to tell everyone about the books I'm reading and I am thankful for all my readers who keep listening to me ramble.

Tell me what you think!  About this book, about life, about all my spelling errors.
I just want to hear from you!