Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer Reading - The Giver

Long time readers may have noted that I have not yet wailed over the choice of summer reading books that my son must read this Summer. There are several reasons for this:
  1. There was no choice to make, just two books he needs to read.
  2. The two books are good books.
  3. When you're going into eighth grade, there are mighty few inappropriate subjects any more, sad or glad, you should be ready to read it.
Of course, my boy is not ready to read these books. The books are age appropriate, and he's lagging behind in several key areas. 
So we started with The Giver, the milder of the two books and one I thought he had some connection to through The Giver treehouse at Cheekwood. Plus I have read it before and there is a ton of information about it out there.
It has been hard going, and asking for help online brought up a new concept for me-working memory. Is my son's inability to remember what words mean due to a deficiency in this area? 
Or is it that he cannot visualize what he reads?
His lack of comprehension goes beyond his inability to understand words from their context. He was unable to recall what a hatchet was when he encountered the word "hatchet" in the text.
Very disturbing, since he read Hatchet for school and I thought he actually engaged with it rather strongly.
The Giver interests him little.
In case you don't know or can't recall, The Giver was the first really popular dystopian novel for young adults 
(if you're feeling bitter about Hunger Games
blame Lowry (or credit her if you're a Hunger fan))
Jonas is about to go through the ceremony of twelve in
his community and find out what his lifetime job assignment will be. Much to his alarm, he is given the previously unknown to him task of Receiver of Memory. The knowledge he receives from the
current receiver reveals to him how much of feeling and life 
has been kept from the people of the community in order to keep 
everyone calm and cooperative. As his memories and feelings 
deepen, he finds he can no longer accept the status quo. The 
revelation of what "release" really means drives him to action,
and he flees to freedom.
What happens to Jonas at the end of the book is ambiguous, and 
upset my husband. It did not upset my son who took the words
literally (no surprise there).

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