A Year of READING Dangerously : 23. The Giver

Maggie comes in with another review, this time it’s 23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry.


We both loved this book and have read it several times. It is a the opening novel of Lowry’s wonderful distopian quartet that also includes Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son. (For the record Gathering Blue is my favorite.)

Here’s the Amazon review of the book:

In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community’s Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1994 Newbery Medal winner, Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price. [– Amazon]

We weren’t sure why the book would wind up on the banned list so we looked it up on line.  Marshall University posted a list of banned books and cited when and why they were challenged. Here’s the scoop on The Giver‘s “offenses”:

2008 Appalled by the descriptions of adolescent pill-popping, suicide, and lethal injections given to babies and the elderly, two parents demanded that the Mt. Diablo School District headquartered in Concord (CA) eliminate the controversial but award-winning book from the school reading lists and libraries.

2007 Challenged, but retained at the Seaman (KS) Unified School District 345 Elementary School library.

2006 Challenged, but retained at the Seaman (KS) Unified School District 345 Elementary School library.

2005 Challenged as a suggested reading for 8th grade students in Blue Springs (MO). Parents called the book “lewd” and “twisted” and pleaded for it to be tossed out of the district. Two committees have reviewed the book.

2001 Banned for being sexually explicit, occult themes, and violence.

[Marshall Univeristy]


“Maybe,” Maggie added, “although it isn’t on our banned books matrix, the book was banned because the kid is rebellious.” That does seem to be another theme. She added “It also gives a possible future that people might be uncomfortable with.”

Maggie recommends this book for readers 8 and up (with repeated readings often.)


About ritalovestowrite

Freelance writer, graphic designer, musician, foodie and Jane Austen enthusiast in Northern Baltimore County, Maryland. As a writer I enjoy both fiction and non fiction (food, travel and local interest stories.) As an advocate for the ARTS, one of my biggest passions is helping young people find a voice in all the performing arts. To that end it has been my honor to give one-on-one lessons to elementary, middle and high school students in graphic design and music. And as JANE-O I currently serve as the regional coordinator for JASNA Maryland and am working on a Regency/Federal cooking project. View all posts by ritalovestowrite

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