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The Giver by Lois Lowry

23 Jul

Book: The Giver, by Lois Lowry

Origin: 5th grade school reading assignment.

I re-read The Giver by Lois Lowry for the umpteenth time, just because. The Giver is one of the first books that had a remarkable impact on me as a child. I remember reading it in the fifth grade and becoming so absorbed in the transformation of Jonas from a naive 12 year old boy into a hardened, self-aware teen determined to find his own path. The whole concept of a dystopia was new to me and I fell in love. A world without color? A world where every child was treated exactly the same? Every person was assigned a career without any choice in the matter? One person held all the memories and feelings of an entire community? I had never read a book like it.

I also felt a certain affinity for Jonas that I’d never felt for a fictional character before. I’ve always been a hoarder of emotion, both my own and that of people around me. Even as a child, I often felt overburdened by unexplainable feelings and it seemed like nobody ever understood. Meeting Jonas was the first time I felt like I wasn’t alone. Even today, re-reading it for the millionth time, I still find comfort in Jonas’ quest.

Now as I read the book from the perspective of an aspiring children’s author, it’s become clear what all my favorite children’s books have in common: Stellar Writing. The books that have stayed with me may have been written for children, but they were never written in a childish voice. They give credit to the reader and am I am still awed at Lowry’s use of language and story-telling techniques.

Sometimes I think our standards have lowered since I was young. The Young Adult market has become so flooded with poorly written, condescending crap. But then again, my parents would probably have said the same thing about my generation, and their parents before them.

In any case, The Giver did not disappoint. It is, and will always remain, one of my favorite books of all time.