Cannonball Read Bingo Square: Minds
I have owned a copy of The Giver for quite a while and it has sat collecting dust on our bookshelf reserved for the classics. My kiddo, on a whim, picked it up and when my 13-year-old picks up something that is a classic, I generally take that as an opportunity to revisit it. (See also, failed attempt to get him to read “A Wrinkle in Time.”)
When I picked it up to reread, I soon began to wonder if I even had read it before. Though dystopian literature is my favorite genre now, my tastes weren’t as dark in my youth; I spent more time in friendly whodunnits. By the time I was into darker things, I jumped right over to Stephen King and other adult literature. It seems likely that I missed this book, as evidenced by the amount of gasping I did while reading such a simple powerful story. (Editor’s Note: I was reading this review to said 13-year-old and he said, “And the crying. Did you write crying?” Duly noted).
The bingo square of Minds was a great choice because this story is an exploration of what could happen if we were able to remove negative experiences from our memories and our minds. Jonas lives in a utopian world with no pain and no suffering until he is selected by his community to begin his mandatory career training to be the next Receiver of Memory. He quickly learns from The Giver that all is not as it seems. This is a bit of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave meetings YA coming of age and I wish that this was required reading by every kid, heck every person. It is a masterclass in understanding the power that lies in the freedom of choice and what you sacrifice when you believe that homogeneity and safety, and not diversity and discomfort, are the ideal. All themes resonate today.
And if I thought I was surprised by book one, I was even more astounded to learn there are three sequels, so I’ve bought the boxset, and once I crawl out from under this pile of TBWritten books (only 3 now left to go!) I’m going to gobble them up.