Sunday, September 25, 2011

Banned Books Week: The Giver

by:  Lois Lowry
published by:  Delacourte Books for Young Readers
publish date:  January 2006

Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

I read this book on a rainy Saturday afternoon and thought it was a great story.  I was thinking it was probably one of the books that got this recent trend of YA dystopian going. 

Jonas lives in a perfect society.  Everyone is great.  Everyone gets along, Everyone has their place.  All the children born in the same year age together, celebrate milestones together, receive their job assignments together.   Until Jonas is selected to become The Receiver. 

Once Jonas starts his training with The Giver, he starts to understand the reality behind his community.  He learns what really happens to the elderly in his community.  He begins to understand that babies that are less than perfect aren't really sent to other settlements.  He then plots his escape.

After I was done, I sat there awhile pondering why this would be a banned book.  I was drawing a blank.  After a handy dandy Google search I got some answers.  The main objections to this book centered around euthanasia.  That's what happened to the less than perfect in this book.  They were euthanized.  Another objection raised was suicide.  There was one instance of suicide in this book.  When a character knew she was going to be "released" from the community she asked to inject herself.  The third objection raised by this book was sexuality.  In order to maintain the perfect society, birth rate was strictly regulated.  The society were basically non-sexual due to pills they were required to take.  All this was talked about in a somewhat abstract manner, but Jonas had to report to his parents that he had "Stirrings" and his parents started him on his pills to tamp down his sexual urges. 

I don't know specifically where this was banned, but it's #11 on the ALA's most challenged books in the 90's.  I can understand parents not wanting their middle school children reading it perhaps, but I would think any young person high school age could handle the material in this book.

1 comment:

Katy said...

I was really moved by The Giver when I read it last year. Excellent book.