In Response to some of the Adult Reviews...
Okay. It must be said that this book is not for the faint of heart or the shallow thinker. Many adult reviews have said this book was "sick" and made remarks like "What has our country become?". But sheltering kids from this book would be like taking away Mark Twain. Or Ray Bradbury. Or, specifically, Enders Game. This book is one of the only books I will refer to as a modern literary masterpiece. And I have read a lot of books.
Lois Lowry perfectly captured captured an alternate reality that would be the devastation of humans. It is what a lot of us might imagine as the death of what we really are: imagination, power, and creativity. Quite simply, this world is gray. We do not know the specifics of how Jonas' community came to be this way, but it is meant to be safe, and that is all. What is quite interesting is the story behind how Lowry came up with the novel. It all goes back to when she was eleven years old, living in Tokyo where her father was stationed at the conclusion of the second World War. She describes her community in Japan similarly to Jonas' community; it was sheltered and plain. Lowry often rode her bike out of the community to simply get a taste of the wonders of the world. She would go down to a local river and watch the “the vigor and the garish brightness and the noise".
The point of The Giver is to examine what it means to be human, by first seeing what is not human. I had to read this novel as assigned reading for a gifted education class at just nine years old, and yes, I was scarred by many aspects of the novel. I couldn't begin to imagine what it would be like not to know sunshine, or winter. The book made me thankful for the first time of those things, really. I saw what they were on their own, and personified. And I put the book down in sheer horror for two days when I learned what being released was. In my mind, that was the greatest step from being human that was even possible. Jonas' community saw that as what they were supposed to do, and it broke my nine year old brain down. But from that moment, I was fighting for Jonas to see what being human was again, saving his "little brother" Gabe, and escaping what human life cannot be: all the same.
I understand where some of the adults are coming from when they do not want their children to read this book. I, myself did not rate the novel as appropriate for all young kids. But if one day I had kids that could handle the minor aspects of the plot that many parents are disgusted by, kids that could see the big picture of the story, this would be the first book I would put in their tiny hands at nine years old. I would tell them to read it, and really internalize it. To further answer the cries of many adult reviewers, this book does not reflect what America has become, not even slightly. This book is the opposite of our diverse nation filled with caring people. This book is simply a genius analysis. It does not say that Lowry is sick in her ideals. I am ashamed that this book is being evaluated for something other than its full story. As Laurie Halse Anderson has said, restricting true literary masterpieces is an action that is "The child of fear, and the father of ignorance."
In conclusion, I know that I have not even dipped a tiny bit into the plot of this book. But I encourage anyone out there to read it and enjoy it for themselves. Please do not take what I am saying as a huge offense, it is just a lesson, in my opinion;, and it is coming from the teen that made the personal, willing choice not to read Twilight.
Happy reading, all.