by Erin K. | | 4 Comments | Tags:

Welcome to our last Online Book Club discussion of The Giver!

If you missed our other discussions, please make sure to go back to Weeks 2 and 3 and see what we have already talked about this month.

This last section was incredibly disturbing. Were you able to make it through until the very end, or was the book too hard to get through?

In case you didn’t know, The Giver comes in at number 11 on the American Library Association’s list of most challenged books from 1990–1999. The most common complaint is that the book is too violent, and the subject matter is unsuitable for young adults. If you want to read more about the book as a challenged book, check out this article. I think that most people would find that this last section is the one that is most unsuitable for children. I am a grown adult, and I find it hard to read the section about how Jonas’ dad kills the baby that he feels will not thrive as well as its twin. We also find out that the elderly are killed during their release ceremony.

To me, this section of the book makes the entire book turn sinister. Before this point, we know that the society is restrictive, and we can see how that harms the people, but after this point, we see that there were some really dangerous decisions made when this town was created.

The ending of this book is really vague. Jonas and Gabe are able to escape, but they are soon cold, hungry, and desperate. At the end of the book, it seems like they are about to find safety, but then, Lowry adds that line, “But perhaps it was only an echo,” suggesting that Jonas might not really be heading towards anything except an elaborate memory. What are your thoughts? Do you think they made it to safety, or was Jonas just hallucinating?

Did you enjoy the book? I know parts of it are really disturbing, but I do think it raises some interesting thoughts, so I still feel like it’s a worthwhile read.

Do you feel like this book is appropriate for young adults? Would you share it with any children in your life?

If you really enjoyed this book, you might enjoy the other books in The Giver series. The books might serve to clear up a little ambiguity from the ending of this book.

I hope you did enjoy reading the book, and I hope you’ll join with us again next month as we read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes!

4 Responses to “The Giver: Week 4”

  1. Carrol

    I am really glad I read the book. I have to admit there were times toward the end when I didn’t think I would make it through. I was so nervous for Jonas and Gabriel. I wanted them to get out of there. I want to believe that they actually made it to safety.

    I think teenagers could handle this book. It reminds me of The Hunger Games series, and we know how popular that was with teens. There are so many issues that could lead to some great discussions.

    I am really interested to read some of the other books in the series to see if I can get some answers to questions that are still lingering in my mind.

    Thanks for providing the helpful video clips and articles throughout this book discussion.

  2. Erin K.

    Carrol, I’m glad you were able to make it all of the way through the book. I felt like I read the last little bit with my eyes half closed–I didn’t really want to see all that was going on. It was like I was watching a scary movie!

    I think I might try to read more of the books in the series, too. When I looked up their descriptions online, I thought they all looked pretty interesting. But, my list of books to read is at least two miles long, so I don’t know if I will get to the series soon!

    Thanks for all of your comments this month! I’m glad that you’ve been able to read along with us for so long!

  3. Jane Engle

    When reading the book I selected to end it by thinking that Jonas and Gabe found safety. I did note the line about “an echo,” but chose not to dwell upon it. Having given more time to consider its meaning, I like the many questions that arise as a result. It reminds me of the conclusion of the TV series “St. Elsewhere” where it was inferred that everything took place in the thoughts and experiences of an autistic boy.

    Being a long-time fan of science fiction works, I enjoyed reading The Giver. Since I was not exposed to similar dystopian themes until I was older, I questioned some of my younger family members about their familiarity with the book and feelings concerning age appropriateness. One cousin’s three daughters each read the book when they were in the 6th grade. She and her girls liked it and would recommend it to others at that age. Another cousin’s daughter saw our discussion on Facebook and asked if we thought it would be appropriate for her two 6th-grade girls. While my one cousin immediately said “Yes,” I referred her to the article you posted regarding banned books so she could make her own decision. I suggested she read the book herself if she further questioned whether or not they should be exposed to its contents.

    While I would like to continue reading this series, the time I can allocate to doing so is limited So many other books await!

    • Erin K.

      Jane, I’m glad you enjoyed the book this month. I wasn’t really a fan of science fiction growing up, but as I have gotten older, I have really grown to appreciate the genre. I’ve never watched St. Elsewhere, but that seems like an interesting premise for a show!

      Thanks for giving me some real-life examples of how teens and tweens react to the book. That was a really good call for you to suggest that your cousin read the book before sharing it with children. I always suggest that approach to parents in the library because it seems like every family and every child has a different thought about what is appropriate.

      I really want to read other books in the series, but I have a long reading list, too! What is something that you have on your list? I would love to hear about anything else you like to read!

      Thanks for chiming in again this month! I really enjoy your insights.

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