Kali's Reviews > The Giver

The Giver by Lois Lowry
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's review
Feb 09, 09

bookshelves: english-7701, ya-books
Read in January, 2009

VOYA Evaluation Code: 5Q; 3P
A) Pre-Reading/Anticipatory Thoughts
The first and the last time I read this book was in fourth grade. I remember sitting in reading circles with classroom moms as we read and explored this book. I also remember my teacher's enthusiasm for this novel. I think it was his enthusiasm that carried over into my enthusiasm for this book. I loved reading it and talked about it with my mom and classmates constantly. I think I liked it so much because I was embarking on something different and unlike anything I had read up to that point. At times I felt weird, like we were exploring ideas that couldn't or shouldn't be talked about. Despite the overwhelming excitement I remember from reading this book, I only remember this book to be about some "Utopian" society. It may have been premature to read this in fourth grade; however, I am excited to reread it. When I look at the cover, it gives me the same excitement I remember from the first time I read it so many years ago. I am excited to see how my opinions and understandings of the text change and grow after I reread it.

B) During Reading
This book intrigues me because it brings back memories of reading it so many years ago. I guess this is a bit ironic because of the assignment Jonas is given. The plot, setting, and characters in this story are strange to me. It's almost alarming to read about this place where no one has choices and everything is laid out with perfect order. Despite the claustrophobic feeling I get while reading about the uniformity, it is the idea of "Sameness" that motivates me to keep reading. It strikes me that I read about these communistic and socialist type societies when I was in fourth grade. Even as a fourth grader, something about this book seemed odd to me. I guess I couldn't put it into words then because I didn't know what these things were. For some reason this book reminds me of Star Wars. I think it reminds me of this because when we studied government in high school, my teacher used Star Wars to help portray different types of government.

C) After Reading
The strengths of this book are obviously Lowry's ability to set up a society that is so different from our own. It is easy to decipher concepts and how they relate to our own concepts, but she is able to distinguish this community as completely different from the lives we lead. I like the fact that Lowry draws the idea of Communism to the minds of young adults. I think students might be able to understand learning about government in their social studies classes if they examined fictional types of governments like the one Lowry created. After reading this for a second time, I wonder why my fourth grade teacher made this book mandatory for our class. As I read, I realized that I actually remember a lot of this book; however, I didn't understand how it actually related to me or history. It was just a story that I knew to be fiction. Something that could never happen. Now I understand the value and the commentary (if that is what it is) in this book.

D) Ideas for Future Teaching
This book resonates with my experiences with writing. It makes me think about the personal pieces I've written throughout my life and what influenced those pieces. The idea of not having memories scares me. I think this book would be interesting to read at the beginning of a semester as a class community forms. It would be interesting to talk to students about memories--good and bad--and how they influence our daily lives. It'd be great to lead discussions about the book and memories into the feather circle and journaling. When I think of feather circles, I consider my own process of sorting through my own memories as I begin to write and edit. With some refining, I think The Giver could help students think more critically about the process of writing and what it involves. In addition, I think it would be interesting to plan a cross-curricular unit with a social studies/government class. A unit like this could help reinforce ideas in more than one class and help meet the standards of reading across the curriculum.

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message 1: by Darren (new)

Darren Interesting reflection on the text and its place in your literary development...the book has obviously resonated with you for quite some time. You make some cogent points about the connections to other fields--notably social studies and government--and the possibilities the book presents. Nice work also in imagining how some of the themes might translate to a writing-relevant approach.

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