The Giver – Lois Lowry

Note from Grace: I just want you to know that since officially graduating on June 6th, (I’ve been done with schoolwork since the end of February), this will be my last submission to Homeschooling Teen. I’m really sad to go but it has been such an honor to be able to write for the magazine. My plan right now is to start doing volunteer work at my local library until a job opens up. Blessings, Grace Heine

the giverOf course they needed to care. It was the meaning of everything.” (page 157)

Title: The Giver
Written by: Lois Lowry
Genre: Dystopian
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Publication Date: 1993
Paperback: 208 pages

Jonas lived in a perfect world. It was comfortable, predictable, and safe. Then came the Ceremony of Twelve where Jonas was given the assignment: Receiver.  Now each afternoon he is faced with memories of a world full of things he could never imagine. Some are fantastic memories vibrant with life, unrecognizable sounds, and feelings – but others are caked with death, unforgettable noises, and emotions. For the first time Jonas must choose what he wants: the memories and all they give him – or a life of Sameness and the safety it entails.

The best books are the ones no one knows about.

The books which are shoved into the back corners of bookstores – soon to not even be sold at that location.

The books squished between yesterday’s Hugo winner and tomorrow’s New York Times Bestseller.

The books you find hidden in secondhand stores.

The books that don’t have authors with 14.6 million followers on Twitter, or 2.1 million followers on Instagram, or 5.3k followers in Facebook, or even 500-thousand followers on Goodreads.

The books that don’t have hundreds of adoring fangirls.

The books that don’t have multimillion dollar movies.

The books that don’t have an army of memes on Tumblr.

The books that don’t have cheap YouTube parodies of them flying around cyberspace.

The books I know I couldn’t live without – yet somehow most of the world does.

The Giver is one of those books.

I mention it to friends and acquaintances and they simply shrug and say they’ve never heard of it.

The Giver will forever hold a special place in my heart, because at the beginning of August, 2016, I auditioned for a theatre production of The Giver.

I wanted to be cast as Fiona – the “main girl” role.

I’d always liked the story of The Giver and (because I have an over active imagination) occasionally I’d played-pretend that I lived in a community like Jonas’s. 

To this day I wonder what my assignment would have been.

My passion in life is music but there is no “Official Player of Piano” in Jonas’s community.

Maybe I would have been assigned Storyteller – since I do love writing and making up stories.

Who am I kidding – I just like to talk.

If you couldn’t tell.

But back to my audition:

It went well and I got a callback but when the cast-list was emailed I (almost) cried.

I had been cast as Rosemary (I’m not going to explain who she is for plot reasons), and understudy for Fiona.

I thought the show had been ruined for me (Yeah, I know I’m a diva) but flash forward to today and even though I have played not one, but two of my dream roles since Rosemary, she still remains my favorite role and The Giver my favorite show.

You see, when I was cast as Rosemary I was at the lowest point in my life. I was depressed and had nothing in life to look forward to (at least, that’s what I thought).

Everything was meaningless to me.

I was devoid of feelings – just like the people in Jonas’s community were.

I actually asked to go home early from one rehearsal because I couldn’t handle being forced to have emotions (AKA: act) that night.

Having emotions made me feel physically sick.

But as the weeks progressed I began to change.

I chose to change.

I couldn’t and can’t live life as an empty shell.

It’s so strange how playing a suicidal girl reawakened my feelings and my desire to live life to the fullest.

But that’s what happened.

(An open letter to Lois Lowry which she will probably never read.)

Dear Lois Lowry,

Thank you for your book: The Giver. In a beautiful, round-about way it saved my life. I can never explain all the things being in the show The Giver has done for me and I don’t even want to think about what my life would be like if you had not written your book. I might never have done theatre again, I’m not sure I would have kept playing piano, I definitely would not have my blog – and there are so many other things I would not have done if I had not been cast as Rosemary in the show: The Giver.

So from the bottom of my heart (which is full of wonderful feelings),

Thank you.

I recommend The Giver for everyone – however, the more mature you are the more you will get from reading this phenomenal book. There are subjects in here that, although children can grasp them, someone who is older will truly understand the meaning and, sometimes, the horror of.

Love, loss, and the vivid colors of this world are blended together into one small children’s novel to create one of the greatest masterpieces of literature humans have ever known.

For More Information about the Book and Author Click: HERE

Age Range: 13 though adult

Cautions *Contains Slight Spoilers*

Violence: Detailed description of a dying/bloody boy. A elephant is slaughtered. Jonas breaks his leg. He also jammed his finger into a door. A character commits suicide. A baby is killed. References to other babies, the elderly, and disobedient citizens being killed. Jonas experiences war. Children are hit with a punishment stick when they do something against the rules. Freezing to death and a boy drowning is mentioned.

Sensuality: Jonas has a dream about bathing Fiona. Talk about “the yearning” and the emotion love. Jonas and Fiona bathe people in the House of the Old.

Profanity: none.

Other: Jonas and Gabe eat raw fish. An unidentified aircraft flies over the community. Charters lie. Jonas breaks a lot of rules. Famine, abandoned children, and mourning are mentioned.

Personal Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Cleanness Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

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Grace Heine is a 17-year-old wanna be writer who spends most of her time reading, writing, playing piano, or finding clever ways to be unproductive. You can visit her book review blog here.

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