Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel The Giver, winner of the Newbery Medal and a William Allen White Award, will finally debut on the silver screen on August 15, 2014. To honor this occasion, let’s revisit that novel and its three sequels.
Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly perfect world of the future. In his society, famine and conflict have been eliminated, but so have freedom and love. While most citizens of this world enjoy rather tame, yet rigid, pain-free lives, Jonas is chosen to be the Receiver of Memory, a difficult position. His job is to remember the sorrows, joys and tragedies of the past (like war) that his society has now eliminated. Accepting these memories is a grim chore for Jonas, but he endures them until an infant’s life is threatened, and he must find a way to save the child at all cost.
Gathering Blue, book 2
But The Giver, an excellent introduction to the dystopian genre, does not stand alone. The stark drama of Gathering Blue’s opening sequence makes for a jolting contrast to The Giver (Not that The Giver is lacking drama). The second novel tells the story of Kira, an orphaned girl who must fight to survive her village’s vicious competition for resources. Fortunately, Kira possesses a special ability that helps her thrive despite external threats and a disability.
Messenger, book 3
While Gathering Blue is only loosely tied to The Giver, at least on the surface, Messenger brings back a familiar character from the first book (Read Messenger to find out who). In Messenger, Matt must recuse his once peaceful village from a mysterious force that turns people against each other. Like Kira, Matt has an exceptional ability, but he uses it only at great need because of the debilitating effects it has on him.
Son, book 4
Son takes us back to Jonas’ world by way of Claire, a young girl whose assignment is Birthmother. Her struggle is tied closely to Jonas’, and she too is forced to make difficult choices while appearing to conform to the society’s rules. Her journey eventually bridges all the other books, tying the series together.
Check out these books at the Library!