This was always a favorite read-aloud in my middle grade classroom. With the movie’s release last Friday, I had to pull it off the shelf and visit Jonas and his dystopian world once more. I wanted to remind myself of each plot point to eventually see what modifications the movie made, which was on the drawing boards for 15 plus years. Fans of the book have already voiced their displeasure at the increase in Jonas’s age from 12 to 16. I’m sure the producers wanted to reach a wider audience base. Also, with the relatively short nature of MG books, additional material was written to make it a full blown movie. Today’s review is all about this Newbery classic, but here are two links where the author, Lois Lowry, talks about the movie: BOSTON GLOBE ARTICLE & NEW YORK TIMES INTERVIEW
PUBLICATION DATE:1993 WORD COUNT: 43,617 READING LEVEL: 5.7
FULL PLOT (From Amazon):
The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT THE GIVER by Lois Lowry
- Jonas. If the world had a few more like him just maybe there would be more kindness, less wars, and a thoughtful appreciation for what we have.
- This is one of those stories that will touch you in different ways at different stages of your life.
- One of the best things you can do is a writer is to surprise your readers. Lois Lowry does that numerous times making this a page turning experience. It’s hard to put down. Early on you can probably guess the decision Jonas will make. It’s the mark of a superb writer that we get there in such unexpected ways.
- Rich discussions can take place with this tale. Was the ending what you expected? Could our present culture benefit from any of the characteristics of this dystopian society? What is the most valuable gift in life? How important is individualism?
- The ending can be interpreted in two different ways: Pessimism or Optimism. No matter which you choose as a reader there will still be a sense that the characters reached a stage of happiness they had never known before. I know we get more of an answer in book three, THE MESSENGER, but for now my vote is for an optimistic future for the main characters.
For the first time, he heard something that he knew to be music. He heard people singing.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.