banned book: the giver

Do you remember the first book you ever read that opened your eyes? Made you feel something outside of yourself? The first book that you didn't just read, you experienced?

For me, it was The Giver by Lois Lowry.




 It's a fairly simple story-- a boy in a strange (creepy) dystopian society is chosen as the "Receiver of Memories" and learns the truth about his "perfect" society.

But the power of the message, the characters (totally had a crush on Jonas), and the prose shook my little 10-year-old self to the core. For real. It expanded my worldview more rapidly than anything else I can recall up to that point.

So this week, I re-read it (probably much faster than the first read through) and I found that though it didn't enthrall me the way it did the first time (perhaps in my post- The Road/ Handmaid's Tale/ Brave New World state, I'm more jaded to the strangeness of the society in The Giver?) there were a few scenes in particular that struck me, but this time in a completely different way.

As I mentioned, when I first read the book I was 10. I didn't have a child of my own, the most complicated decision of my day was what to pack for lunch- Cheetos or Ruffles, and my political understanding was limited to the "Republican Day" at the State Fair (in which my dad would drag me to the fair to ride the rides and shake politicians' hands and collect a bunch of lame stickers).

Now, I have a child. I have a mortgage and bills. I have my own political views (which probably have my dad turning in his grave). All this baggage made me appreciate The Giver in a new and fantastic way.

So, maybe you've never read The Giver. Well, not only do I advise you to change that, but I also suggest that you try this exercise of re-reading a book from your own past. One that meant something to you when you were a child. It is an enlightening and enriching experience and a great way to transport yourself back to "that place."

Or, if you've already done this, what was the result? (and the book?)

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