Raquel book review “The Giver”

Lois Lowry earned the Newbery Medal for this book, so unlike any other for children, or for adults. There have been utopian novels before; though few for children; but none that give the utopia such a fair shake. It is this fairness that makes THE GIVER so riveting and thought-provoking, and so perfect for triggering discussions. The author is true to her determination not to stack the deck for readers; the ending is deliberately ambiguous, with allegorical overtones, leaving readers to decide what they want to believe.

Jonas’s world is very appealing. The community runs by common agreement to its rules; some freedom is sacrificed for security; joy, for avoidance of misery. The choices, which provide the catalyst for discussion, all involve one central decision: to forgo the highs of life in order to get rid of the lows; to find the middle way. There is a lot to be said for this, though Jonas, speaking presumably for the author, ultimately rejects it. Some children will agree with Jonas, but others will find themselves attracted to a life that is uniformly pleasant, if never exhilarating.

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