Friday, April 11, 2008

The Giver

"Someone has
walked into a fast-food place with an automatic weapon and randomly killed a
number of people. My daughter stops talking and waits while I listen to the
Then I relax. I say to her, in a relieved voice, “It’s all right. It was in
Oklahoma.” ( O perhaps it was Alabama. Or Indiana.)
She stares at me in amazement that I have said such a hideous thing.
How comfortable I made myself feel for a moment, by reducing my own
realm of caring to my own familiar neighborhood. How safe I deluded myself
into feeling. {...} When Jonas meets The Giver for the first time, and tries to comprehend
what lies before him, he says, in confusion “I thought there was only us. I
thought there was only now.”
In beginning to write The giver I created – as I always do, in every book
– a world that existed only in my imagination – the world of “only us, only now.”
I tried to make Jonas’s world seem familiar, comfortable, and safe, and I tried
to seduce the reader. I seduced myself along the way,. It did feel good, that
world. I got rid of all the things I fear and dislike; all the violence, prejudice,
poverty, and injustice, and I even threw in good manners as a way of life
because I liked the idea of it.
One child has pointed out, in a letter, that the people in Jonas’s world
didn’t even have to do dishes.
It was very, very tempting to leave it at that.
But I’ve never been a writer of fairy tales. And if I’ve learned anything
through that river of memories, it is that we can’t live in a walled world, in an
“only us, only now” world where we are all the same and feel safe. We would
have to sacrifice too much. The richness of color and diversity would disappear
feelings for other humans would no longer be necessary. Choices would be

This is an exceprt from Lois Lowry's acceptance speech when The Giver won the Newberry Award. After hearing Dr. Robinson talk about it I knew I just had to go read it.

I remember reading The Giver as a fourth grader. I HATED it; it scared me to death! Honestly, I don't even know if I finished it because it began to give me nightmares. Now having reread it, I find that interesting. Why was I so scared of such a seemingly "perfect" world? Nothing was scary about it. Now I realize why was different. It was uncomfortable and nothing like my little tough, fourth grade life.

That is exactly what Lowry is talking about here. She almost made this world normal. I am so glad she didnt. It wouldnt be the same kind of story at all.

Not only was the book 10 times more amazing this time around, but I finally got it!

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