Wednesday, May 11, 2011
BACK IN THE STACKS: "The Giver" by Lois Lowry
BACK IN THE STACKS:
I chose this classic, award-winning novel for my Bookish Libraria Blog as a "Back in the Stacks" review book this past week.
It's actually, unbeknownst to me prior to my reading it, a dystopian novel about the coming of age and the coming to wisdom and understanding of a young boy in a futuristic society. A book I missed reading in school, but which my children were exposed to in my own childrens' time, this is somewhat dated in spots, I felt, but held the same sort of message that we hear and see in our own world and society today through a plethora of young adult literature. That alone makes it worthy of reading!
It's a small book, but every page is profound. Lois Lowry knows how to write exactly like my Rhetoric professor wanted us to write...with precision and acuracy. Her every word has a purpose and meaning. And, in that instance, we discover that we need to pay attention, acutely, to what she's telling us. This is a serious book with a warning for young and old, alike.
I found it most poignant that Ms Lowry wrote "The Giver" for young people at their pivitol age. It's a book that is meant to make them consider the society they are apart of without a doubt, but it's also meant to make them question the world and the ways of life they've taken for granted. It hopes, it seems, to help them shed the scales from their eyes and take the plugs from their ears...to have the courage to rise up again the norm. For that alone, I found it worthy of the Newberry Prize.
It seems to me that as adults we fear young people. We want to corral them, to keep them in check, to make sure they don't skate board near the Library. There's alot about them that reeks of uncontrollable power and unhinged disaster. There's impulse on edge, and the half-here-and-half-there sense of what's going to really damage their lives and the lives around them, and what's not. Because of this, teens and pre-teens have this magical quality to them...this freshness of vision coupled with this wildness of vision like the boys in "Lord of the Flies," like those vampires and psychics and witches they "wanna be" in the YA novels.
In "The Giver" we see such power in the young protagonist. He is pent up and on the verge of destruction in several instances. We see him risk breaking serious rules only to see him pull back and turn to the side of wisdom to protect those he loves. This is the quality that Lois Lowry is telling the young to emulate, this is the hidden treasure that the Giver has to offer~this potential to create a new system lovingly, or simply to destroy mindlessly.
Ms Lowry acknowledges the terrible strength and power of the young adult to be victorious or to vanquish and offers an instruction of vision, values and valor. In a society where everything is ordered, equal, peaceful and happy...life is not valued, and people deemed less than fit for society are done away with like old newspaper.
"The Giver" is a book worthy of literary and humanitarian awards, and it's a book worthy of being the classic it's become.
I strongly recommend "The Giver" to everyone, young and old, who hasn't already read it...and even to those who have. It's a good time to reread this book. It's an especially good time to read it...
Posted by Deb at 2:05 PM