Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Top Shelf, Selection Two--The Giver

Before The Hunger Games, before The Maze Runner, or Matched, there was Lois Lowry's The Giver, the gold standard, in my opinion, for dystopian fiction. Although I love all three of those recent entries in that genre--and will probably talk about each of them in later posts--they haven't quite knocked The Giver from my top shelf.

It would be nice, wouldn't it, to live in a society without hunger, pain, or crime? Imagine a society where everyone has a job and that job exactly fits each person's talents and abilities. It would be, in short, perfect. But how would you create a perfect society with imperfect people? The Giver answers that question.

I envy anyone reading The Giver for the first time. And I think the reason I read it over and over is that I'm trying to recapture the awe I felt as I walked with Jonas through that seemingly perfect society and discovered bit by bit the lengths the founders had gone to to engineer it.

The Giver is profound, but it's written in such simple, beautiful prose that you can skim along the surface and just enjoy it for the gripping story that it is. The Newberry committee was right on when they chose this book as a winner.

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