I picked up a book yesterday, that so captured my attention, that I must share with you my thoughts and concerns. A friend had shared with me the name of this book, and a growing concern from a few parents that their fifth graders were reading this book, in a private Christian school. Some of the things they described, I didn't think were appropriate for 10 year olds. So I got my copy of The Giver at a local second hand store. The book is written by Lois Lowry, who is an award winning author of children's books, surely this parent was wrong. I want you to understand that I am very conservative in my thinking and beliefs. I understand that this book is fiction - but my oh my - what a sad state of what childhood stories should be about.
In the book the people live in a world without pain, there are no wars, no hunger, no disease...a world of sameness....everyone has a purpose and a job that is chosen specifically for them, and assigned when they are twelve. There are no individual birthdays, there is one celebration every December for all birthdays, from one to twelve, after that age does not matter and is not important. All of the babies are born to birth mothers, who never see their baby, they are raised for one year by a nurturer, and then are given their name and assigned the family unit they are assigned to. The very old live together, the very young live together, the adults with children have family units, and when the children grow up the parents then go to a place for childless adults. No one is hungry, everyone is the same...every morning dreams are discussed and every night feelings are discussed. No one is rude. This world is free of choices, there are none. The very old are 'released' to the Elsewhere, and the young that do not adjust to nurturing, or twins who are identical (the smaller weight child) one is kept and one is 'realeased'. I am so disturbed by the thoughts of this book, I must write. In this society the people have chosen to not have memories, to not have pain, and to allow one person to be the holder of memories, so that when decisions must be made that he can draw on wisdom from past situations to determine what is the right thing to do. The receiver of memories (I can not capitalize these words - and act like that it is something really important) holds all wisdom and knowledge of the past. The young man in the story is chosen to be the next receiver of memories and the giver (the one who has the memories must pass them to him), has a library of books, that no one is allowed to read or see, except him, and the one he is now to train to be the receiver of memories. In the story it becomes obvious that not only is everyone the same in the world of sameness, but there is no color, there are no hills, there are no seasons, there is no weather, there is no sunshine, no warmth, no cold, no snow....everything is the same.
One thing I have often heard, and even said is, "everything in life is not fair". This statement could not be said about the world of this book, because fair does not exist.
Let me tell you now what troubles me most about the book. In the book the old people who do not contribute to society any longer are released - in other worlds killed - though the people in the book don't know that - or choose not to know it! Children who are not adjusting well before the age of one are 'released'. In the book there is a visual of the 'releasing procedure' for an identical twin. The child who is smaller in birth weight is injected with a needle in the top of the head, I can only assume it is a saline solution, something like the solution used in abortions, and the child jerks and becomes lifeless, and then is wrapped in a blanket, put in a box, and dropped down a chute, much like a laundry chute. Though the book did not discribe the 'releasing' for the old, i imagine that it is much the same, with a lethal injection to stop life, because there is no value in that life....how very sad when a society of people have the right to choose value of life. I know that in many countries euthanasia of the old is already legal, and maybe even the taking of life of the disabled, we are killing the unborn by thousands and thousands in this country. I will never be able to accept that it is okay to end the life of anyone, young or old, because we percieve that they will not be able to make a contribution to society. God alone knows why He allows sickness and disease, well, acutally it is because we live in a sinful world. I of course am not saying that people have a sickness or disease because of sin in their own life, but our world is filled with sin, and it effects us all, to some degree or another. How do you or I get to choose who lives or dies?
I continue to be desturbed over the content of the book, please do not take for granted what your children are reading at school, read for yourself and see how easily our children are being deceived, we have become so decensitized to pain and death, life is so very fragile, and important, and valued.
Tell someone, young or old, today that you love them. Value the life that God has chosen.
thank you for bearing with me as I share my thoughts.