Kathryn's Reviews > The Giver

The Giver by Lois Lowry
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's review
Sep 29, 11

bookshelves: book-club, fantasy, fiction, ya, youth
Read in September, 2011

Summary: Jonas is an ordinary boy in an ordinary world - a world where everything is ordinary. While there is not sickness and no pain, there is something else lacking as well. Never having considered it, Jonas is chosen one day to take a special role in the community where he must face what they are missing.

Why I Read This Book: This month our bookclub is reading Banned Books, and I was on the fence about which one to read. Then I asked the recommendation of another librarian and she said that it should certainly be this one.

Review: I am glad that I read this book. Having never read it as a child, I have always felt a little bit left out, but I have also never felt so compelled as to read it. Still, I found the book to be falsely appealing. Sure, the part of me that is true-blue American says that choice is good and regulations are bad, but that's only the American part of me. The rational part of me knows that "freedom from" is not true freedom. "Freedom for" is much more freedom. Lowry is not advocating for a completely free world with no rules, but the one-sided view of rules and discipline was disheartening. Just as rules can be bad, rules ordered towards the good will make humans more free, not less free.

Imagine children playing on the top of a mountain - without a fence they have to stay in the very middle of the mountain and can't play far, lest the ball fall over the edge. But, if the children have a fence around the top of the mountain, then they need not worry about losing the ball and can play more heartily. Boundaries that are ordered towards the good give them the opportunity to shine.

I found Lowry's book overly simplistic (though it is for children...), but still enjoyable and interesting.

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