The Dental Wives book club, that I am a member of, recently finished reading Lois Lowry's The Giver. This is mesmorizing read about 12 year old Jonas and the world that he lives in. He is surrounded structure, rigid formality and order. Every person has a specific job and task from which he/she should not sway. What is lacking is creativity, memories and imagination. At first glance this may seem to be an idyllic world. For Jonas, however, the discovery that the old of the community are exterminated after a certain age and that young babies who are sickly are killed is beyond comprehension. When children turn twelve they are given specific jobs. Jonas is given the job of Receiver of Memories. It is his responsiblity to keep all of the memories of the people, whether pleasurable, happy, painful, sad, etc. This is an emotionally draining job that leaves Jonas questioning the reason why he is living in such a world.
Although this is considered a young adult book it is a thought provoking book for people of all ages. The book leaves one with many questions and thoughts about one's own life, society and how one views the world. Humanity is brought into question throughout the book since Jonas' world keeps people from fully participating in certain emotions, thoughts and feelings. This book is truly worthy of the 1994 Newbery Medal that it was awarded.