The Giver I

[The Giver I]
Year: 
1993
Type: 
Public: 
Moral assessment: 
Type: Literature
Nothing inappropriate.
Some morally inappropriate content.
Contains significant sections contrary to faith or morals.
Contains some lurid passages, or presents a general ideological framework that could confuse those without much Christian formation.
Contains several lurid passages, or presents an ideological framework that is contrary or foreign to Christian values.
Explicitly contradicts Catholic faith or morals, or is directed against the Church and its institutions.

The 12-year-old Jonas lives in the safety of the community, where there is no war, no pain, no hunger… and no colours. On being selected as the Receiver of Memory, he gradually discovers the dark secrets that lie at the core of this perfect world and his final adventure is to escape from it. It is a world where children are born from genetically approved 'replacement mothers' and everything is controlled. It is on discovering the meaning behind individuals being 'released' and of a poorly child given to his family being 'marked for replacement' that he realises the horrors of euthanasia and abortion. Spotting an aeroplane flying over ahead, he knows that there is a world outside his own and he needs to find it, with this child in his arms, to escape the grip of the Elders.

A short book written for 10-12 year olds and dealing with a serious theme wrapped in an adventure story. The American author of very many children's books has wanted to leave young people with a thought-provoking tale that offers more questions than answers to a young mind. It makes the young reader question what it would be like to live in such a world where everything is controlled and all dangers are removed (One can see where "The Hunger Games gained inspiration"). Though enjoyable to read, it is rather slight of content. Simply written and seen as a future children's classic, the author struggles with maintaining suspense and pace. Please be aware that the film is an almost entirely different story.

C.C. (U.K., 2015)