I have never read the novel, The Giver by Lois Lowry, but thought I knew the story. I had read the second book, Gathering Blue and read about and talked about The Giver. Plus, I figured I know the authors style as well. It is sweet and “happy edgy.” You know good things can happen, even when bad things are going on. Yet, when I read The Giver: Graphic Novel I was blown away.
This is not just due to the story (I now need to reread the second book and find the two squeals) as it is one mind-bleep for sure. It was mostly since I never thought myself a visual learner. Graphic novels never had an appeal to me until recently. Yet, since I started reading them seriously, and finding the ones that are not “just Batman” (though nothing is wrong with those!) and seeing a book done so strongly, I am understanding, appreciating and learning from Graphic Novels and that visual stimulation.
Is the graphic novel close to the original? In the interview with the author, she said it was true to form. There is also an interview with the illustrator, P. Craig Russell and their process with the story and creating the graphic novel version.
And a note on those illustrations that helped give an understanding not just from words. Sometimes they can be a bit awkward at times. You know something is off, but you cannot put your finger on it until a particularly important event happens. That event? You see a color that is not an “off white/grey or black” color. You see red. But then you realize blue is an important color, too. They also seem a bit unfinished. Perhaps that is just Russell’s style, or maybe a plot point. Either way it took me a few minutes to get into the groove of reading them and not feel as if they were going to melt away (or something). One review of the book called these images, haunting. And that is probably the only way to describe them.
Over all, this book is just a kick in the you-know-what. You can see why Lowry was award the Newberry Award for this title. It was science fiction when it first came out but based in reality. But in many ways, it has come around full circle and is our reality. I understand the importance of this book but know that it is not for everyone and there is such a thing as reading it too soon. Parents and teachers read with your child/students; older students (at least fifth grade and up) should be okay with it. However, the graphic novel is a great way to help the visual learner, learner with issues with traditional learning and the best cliff notes ever (as cliff notes and I have never been friends, that is saying a lot).