September 21st, 2012, 3:52 pm

Culinary Banned Book of the Week: The Giver

Featured photo source: http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1342493368l/3636.jpg

I've really meant to use only public domain images, but there are no public domain images for this book. I will put proper citation at the bottom.

Technically it's the end of Banned Books Week, a week when we celebrate how forbidden books in our childhood became famous. Eleven years ago Harry Potter was banned on charges of encouraging satanism and occultism, and it seems hard to believe that anyone would burn piles of the lovely books in the age of Pottermore and the Harry Potter child actors now dancing on Broadway. How could anyone think that Daniel Radcliffe would inspire children to worship Satan, especially when he battles Ralph Fiennes in the movies?

The Giver is an interesting book from my childhood; we read the novel in fifth grade gifted, debating whether or not its ending involved death. The book was also my first dystopia novel, a genre that claims that a "perfect" ideal future would be much worse than our present state.

We read this Newberry winner along to a boring audio book in fifth grade, but the book itself had interest on every page. Through a preteen's light-colored eyes, we see about a perfect world where there is no pain, war, or color, and how a boy sees the old world by receiving memories from his new boss, the titular Giver. As Jonas learns more about war, love, and life, he starts to realize that a Community where everything is the same pays a huge price to avoid pain.

I consider The Giver a culinary book because Jonas's first experience of color starts with an apple. As we know from television and grocery stories, the common apple is red unless we go for Granny Smith or Golden delicious. Lois Lowry treats the matter carefully, however; she doesn't reveal the Community's absence of color for about ten chapters, after the reader is invested in the book. One of Jonas's memories of pain involves famine, and he asks why he must learn about starvation. In the end, when Jonas decides to change his community, he risks starvation and isolation to save his baby brother.

The Giver has been banned because it shows a dystopia with a terrifying euphemism. According to [url="http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/2001-07-20-the-giver.htm"]this article{/url] from 2001, a few Denver parents were disturbed when their kids told them about the euphemism's true meaning. I won't spoil the book, but the article will; you have been warned.

Schulz has read The Giver in school given he's in fifth grade and a smart kid. He also can see why it's been banned but doesn't agree with the decision, since he believes in free speech. After all, the book teaches us this lesson, according to my seventh grade English teacher who covered the book: "A world without pain is a world without plesaure." (Thank you Mrs. Parks if you're still teaching.) Here's a corollary: a world without painful books is a world without pleasurable reading. The most painful books challenge our views on society and make us rise out of helpless stupor; getting rid of them won't get rid of the challenges in the real world. Kids might as well know what they're up against before learning about the Middle East, sleazy politicians, and real-life food shortages, because books offer one big advantage: you can put them away if you don't like them. Even better, if we don't like one book, we can choose another one from the shelf. If we could do that with current events, then the world would be a better place.

The Giver. Digital image. Goodreads. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2012. <http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1342493368l/3636.jpg>.


Sheila (Book Journey) (Guest), October 6th, 2012, 9:29 am

Good book I read this book this week too and enjoyed it. I love how you talk about the absence of color. That was a pretty brilliant in the book.

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