I’m going back to my childhood for the first Teaser Tuesday post. One of the first books I remember reading on my own and loving is The Giver. I was in fifth grade and had to pick a book from a list to write a book report on. Not my idea of fun at the time, but I had to get it done. I checked the book out from the library and dreaded having to read it. I liked to read but I wanted to browse the shelves and pick whatever book jumped out at me.
There is no denying that something drew my attention to this book on the list and to this day I can still remember the passion and love that I developed for this book as I read it. It was the first time that I formed an attachment to a character. Jonas, the protagonist was around my age and came from a small family; I could relate to him. This was the first book that I used critical thinking skills and found myself trying to predict what would happen. I didn’t read it as a picture book just absorbing the plot as it came. I tried to see where the author led me and soon this assigned book became my first love.
This book took place in a society that seemed perfect at first. A place where no one stands out, no one is better, jobs are assigned, and acceptance is expected. This seemed ideal. I read about this society and compared it to what my 11 year old eyes had seen and life had experienced. At this point in the book it seemed a lot could be learned from this place where everyone followed the rules and got along. As the book goes on, it is clear that things aren’t as they seem. I realized this concept of “sameness” was a clever disguise of control. There were rules for every situation imaginable and were to be followed at all times.
While I didn’t expect for there to be a downside to this Utopian society I realized further into my reading that they weren’t really living, merely existing. They lived in a world of grays. There was nothing spontaneous, life on the edge or trial by error. They sacrificed risk for comfort. All decisions were made for them, from their occupation, spouse, and children, all choice was stripped from the people and decided by the Elders.
Jonas is given a very special job as the Receiver of Memories. This is when the book explains the reason for sameness and why the society has sacrificed the aspects that make life unique for one of stability and control. Jonas experiences many things for the first time, from emotions, to knowledge and acceptance. Looking back I think this book was too profound for me to really understand at that age, but I did comprehend quite a bit. It opened my eyes and mind and made me question and ponder things I never had before.
I loved this book so much that when my husband and I first started dating I recommended he read since he hadn’t yet had the pleasure (he must not have picked it for his book report). He too fell in love with it and we had many nightly discussions about the book as he read each chapter. When my daughter was 6 I purchased The Giver on Audible and we would listen to it in the car when we ran errands. I really got it for myself but let her listen to it until it reached a point I felt was too mature for her age. I was surprised as to how much she understood and the level of her comprehension. She picked up on things that I remembered being surprised at when I read it at 11. We will read the book in its entirety in a couple of years. I’m curious to hear her thoughts, perspective and opinion on it.
This is one of those books that I love so much and have such a connection with that I wouldn’t dare taint it by watching the movie. I heard mixed reviews about the movie, mainly by people that didn’t read the novel. I haven’t and don’t plan to watch the film adaptation. I think the book was superb and have no desire to let the film version override the pictures Lois Lowry created in my mind when I read her words in this novel nearly 20 years ago.
Now, for the actual “teaser” part of Teaser Tuesday-
It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened…
Now, thinking about the feeling of fear as he pedaled home along the river path, he remembered that moment of palpable, stomach-sinking terror when the aircraft had streaked above.
Have you read The Giver? Did you enjoy it? How old were you when you read it? Did you watch the movie? What did you think about it? Do you enjoy film adaptation of books? Do you read the book first or watch the movie and then read the book? What is the first book you remember falling in love with? How often do you read? Do you read physical books or do you read an electronic version of a book? How do you feel about reading a physical book versus an electronic version? When’s the last time you bought a book? Ok I think I’ve asked enough questions to tempt you to answer at least a couple.