Book Discussion Series: The Giver

One of my favorite young adult novels is The Giver by Lois Lowry. I recently saw the movie so I decided to pull it out to discuss.

I used this story in a class I taught about book challenges in the United States. Yes, book challenges happen here, even book bans. In a country where we cherish free speech, we sure do spend a lot of time trying to censor people. But, I digress.

The Giver is one of my favorite books because it is so beautifully written. The scenery, the people, the society as a whole are presented to the reader in such a way that you forget you are not part of the story. You move through the motions with the characters and fight the ideals of authority along with the main character, Jonas. It is more than just a dystopian story. It discusses issues that many prefer to avoid, which is another reason I love it, and why it is challenged so often.

Here are a few questions to keep in mind as you read:

  • Why are dystopian novels so popular?
  • What issues are discussed in this book and how do they relate to the real world?
  • How does secrecy or transparency affect a society?
  • How does Jonas change throughout the story and how do his changes impact those around him?
  • Why are certain subjects taboo?

I would like to ask another question, but I can’t seem to find the right wording to not give anything away. I promised never to do that, so I will defer that question for another setting.

It is a great story, full of ideas to think about and, more importantly, discuss. Though it is labeled as a young adult novel, I would not put such limitations on it. Anyone could and should read it and I would venture a guess that most will love it.

Except those who want it removed from library shelves. To them I say, you have the right to voice your opinion, just as I have a right to read what I want. I will not try to take away your right to speak against the book, so don’t try take away my right to read it.

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