Friday, May 30, 2014

Anticipating "The Giver"

As the Summer movie season gets underway, the one movie I'm anticipating the most is "The Giver".

"The Giver" is a book by Lois Lowry. My daughter had to read it for school. In an attempt to keep up with her studies, and to show some solidarity, I read her copy. I finished it over a weekend, and I was greatly affected by it.

The book is about a young boy who lives in a utopia. He and his family have everything "decided" for them, and in return they live in peace and harmony. Despite the peaceful grown up life he knows he's in for, he begins to yearn for "something more." When his community announces that he will have a special job working with an elder statesman who has memories of how things used to be, he is introduced to some harsh truths about utopia.

Since this book is a young adult novel, I didn't expect to be swept up in the emotion of "The Giver", but I was. Every revelation the protagonist experienced wrenched my gut. By the time he realizes how to act on his feelings, I was both cheering and fearful. The book had me in tears, so potent were its images and truths. ("I thought there was only us." "There's much more.")

It's a book that I'm grateful to have read, and one that I wish I would have experienced when I was 13. ("The Giver" was written in 1993). I don't know if the movie will have the same impact, but I'm hoping it popularizes this wonderful book.

"The Giver", directed by Phillip Noyce and starring Jeff Bridges opens August 15, 2014.