Dear Ms. Lowery,
The Giver. This book made me think. It wasn't the saddest or the funniest or the longest book I've ever read. But something about that book had Steven Hawking-like qualities. Your book had so much deeply embedded symbolism I really had to dig deep to figure it out. It was like a treasure hunt. Everything I figured out was like finding a gemstone, beautiful and intriguing. Every question a mysterious fossil I wanted to research.
In the beginning, I couldn't tell that there was something different about Jonas's town. I was first tipped off by Jonas's language. The way he used words wasn't like a normal eleven year old boy. It really interested me when he was frightened by a plane flying overhead, as not many people today are afraid of seeing planes. Then after talk of "Release" and "Sharing of Feelings", I knew something was wrong with the town.
I tried to imagine myself as a member of Jonas's community. It was hard to imagine having no rudeness, having set required apologies, seeing without color, and not having music. Color and music are things most of us take for granted. Your book made me think about such simple things that we take for granted. I thought how could these people live like that? How could they let other people choose their job and spouse? How could they allow themselves to have no freedom? How could Jonas have been the first one to think of rebelling against these ways?
I felt with Jonas. I got mad when he got mad. I was hurt when he was. You gave those feelings to me as if you were the Giver. The words really leapt off of the pages and became real happenings when Jonas saw his friends playing war. I was so angry at the kids for playing the game of war and not knowing how wrong it was. It was awful to hear them making gun noises. I hated that they didn't know what they were doing, that they'd never know how wrong that was.
The last chapter, when Jonas and Gabe made it to Elsewhere, was amazing. (Especially if you want readers to have questions, and leave a little more to be desired.) My last year’s English class discussed this book, especially the ending. We had ideas that he died and went to Heaven, he went to his real home and family, and that he went back to his old community but it had changed for the better because of the memories. Considering that there are sort of sequels to The Giver, I side with the latter. The memories coming back to him and becoming real, coupled with the fact he has to come back into play, leads me to believe he came back to his new, better community. But I guess I'll have to read Gathering Blue and Messenger to find out.
So, to leave you with one final thought, why did you name your book The Giver? While the Giver was quite influential in the story, it seemed Jonas was the main character. In my mind it would make more sense to have called the book The Receiver, but that's just one girl's opinion.
Ms. Lowery, thank you for your book.