In The Giver, Lois Lowry portrays a society whose rigid rules have reduced life to a nearly robotic existence and stripped it of individuality and diversity. The society also forbids human feelings, choosing instead a Receiver to bear the weight of human experience through a mysterious process of receiving memories.
The Receiver passes on memories to his successor, Jonas, whose worldview crumbles as he experiences everything from the horrors of war to the joys of childhood. No longer blind to the moral flaws of his idealistic society, Jonas must make a decision about the rules he has taken for granted.
–Christine McParland, Youth Services
The book is about a boy who is starting high school. He seems like he has some kind of mental challenges like Asbergers. The book is written as letters. He is writing letters to someone about his daily routines, friendships, family and things that are going on in his life. The ending is strange. I’m still trying to figure it out.
I can see why it was banned. Some of the content made me cringe. But there are other books in the library that are just as bad that aren’t banned. Even though it is based about a boy in high school, I think it should be in Adult Fiction.
That being said I really enjoyed the book. It was the type of book you can’t put down. I highly recommend it.
Lisa V. – Circulation/Outreach Department
This classic story tells the tale of a spoiled daughter of a southern plantation owner and their lives just before and then after with the decline of the South as a result of the defeat in the Civil War and the fall of the Confederacy. Reasons for it being banned: for its realism of life in the South, of the slavery depicted during those years, and the use of words like “nigger” and “darkies”.
I found the story to be very colorful, with its realism in depicting those years during the Civil War and of the South including the language used.
Heidi – Youth Services Department
It’s hard to believe that this book was ever challenged because aside from a few references to naked women in Playboy, there’s really isn’t anything scandalous about this book at all. The protagonist, Margaret Simon, is a typical sixth grade girl concerned mainly about puberty. I never read this book as a child, which is a shame because I think it would have helped me deal with those awkward adolescent years. Even thought Margaret worries she will be a late bloomer, the author also presents the insecurities that can cripple early bloomers like her classmate, Laura Danker.
Another issue that Margaret is concerned about is religion. While her father was raised Jewish and her mother was raised Christian, Margaret herself was raised with no religion and is given the freedom to choose one for herself. As someone who grew up in a Hindu household but attended Catholic school, I have always been confused about religion and its place in my own life. And what I love about this book is that by the end of it, Margaret is just as confused about religion as she was in the beginning. But even despite this, it’s clear that she still has an established relationship with God. I think this is an important message for people—children and adults—that whether or not you have a religion or believe in God, its okay. Everyone has the right to question religion and/or God and to reject or accept them.
This young adult novel is just as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1970. Children will always have to face the changes that accompany growing up and religion will probably always play a role in the societies in which they live. And Blume’s book is a comforting read for anyone who might be confused about either.
Malini R – Circulation/Outreach Department
This book, about neighborhood outcasts, was banned due to offensive language.
The main character, a middle school boy, reeling from the death of his mother and overlooked by his family who are all also dealing with this loss, begins a relationship with the neighborhood “Crazy Lady” and her son who has mental disabilities. Initially, it is a bullying type of relationship but soon, the boy grows in maturity, developing empathy and curbing his tendency to judge others harshly and befriends these two people.
A Newberry Winner, the story deals with issues many young people are experiencing and dealing with…alcoholism, bullying, death, family relationships. There is some off color language, a few swear words but nothing x-rated or anything they’ve probably not heard on TV or the radio, and the language is used in the context of what someone in the mental state of these two outcasts might feel necessary to express themselves.
I think it is a great story showing how children (and adults) can grow emotionally leading to a change is one’s perception of a situation and how one judges others. I see no reason the book should have been challenged.
Laurel B. – Youth Services