I can’t recall what inspired me to read Lois Lowry’s The Giver, but when I finished it, I was disappointed in how long it took me to discover it. Published in 1993, it could have made my high school reading list – yes, I’m dating myself – and yet, despite all the books I’ve read and all the reading suggestions that have been given to me, it never came up. Thus, given how powerfully it affected me, I wanted to know why no one had ever told me about this book before!
So, I’m doing you a service and telling you to read The Giver. Not only is it a great, well-written story – a given considering the author’s literary achievements – it’s a book that makes you consider a world lacking in diversity, independent thought, love, color, and song. In this YA novel (with adult themes), Lowry illustrates a society that seems so normal before magically opening its lid to reveal how truly twisted it is.
In doing so, she reminds readers how beautiful life is and how we shouldn’t take for granted simple pleasures like snow, rainbows, and most importantly, choice. As the story progresses, she writes about the darker times in life, such as war, and hunger, and pain, teaching Jonas, the eleven-year-old protagonist, that life is a balance, that hardship can accompany joy. In essence, Lowry reaches spiritual levels illustrating the Yin and the Yang, but does so in such perfect storytelling, the lessons sink deep inside you before you even realize they’re there.