Criticism, reception, and adaptations


Lois Lowry's novel The Giver (1993) provokes a lot of controversy after its publication. Many parents and authority figures classify the book as not suitable for children and teenagers. They criticize that the community presented in the book is too disturbing, and also  that it discusses euthanasia and the killing of young children. Moreover, the topics of suicide, authoritarian brainwashing, regulated reproduction and sexual feelings, are not suitable for children and teenagers, according to certain critics. 

The work is listed on the list of the 100 most challenged books from 1990-2000. This list is maintained by the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom. This list includes books often requested to be banned from  schools and libraries. And even in the list for 2000-2009 The Giver is still included.

Other reasons for banning the book were the portrayal of explicit sexuality, religious views, and suicide. In a 2001 "Associated Press" article, it is further stated that it is considered problematic that the novel does not point out that suicide is not a way to solve one's problems in life. Today, critical words are still being voiced against the book.

On her website, Lowry responds to attempts to ban her book from school lists as follows:

"I think banning books is a very, very dangerous thing. It takes away an important freedom. Any time there is an attempt to ban a book, you should fight it as hard as you can. It’s okay for a parent to say, “I don’t want my child to read this book.” But it is not okay for anyone to try to make that decision for other people. The world portrayed in The Giver is a world where choice has been taken away. It is a frightening world. Let’s work hard to...

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