The young adult novel The Giver is sometimes shelved as science fiction, but author Lois Lowry has never thought of it as such. Since its publication in 1993, the seminal work of literature has been a beacon of truth and emotional realism for young adults.
Lowry’s narrative follows a pubescent boy named James who lives within a futuristic society where prejudice, violence, sexuality, and emotionality have been expelled. James is selected by an all-powerful Chief Elder to be the Receiver of Memories, and under the tutelage of an old man known as “the Giver,” he learns of the world we now live in. For the first time, James sees color; he smells and touches, tastes and hears. He experiences lust and witnesses death.
James’s story is a version of the experience of every twelve and thirteen year old. In these years, a whole new sensory and emotional world is revealed to us; sexuality, growth, disease and mortality become real. The idea of love feels more profound and transformative. It's terrifying information, and The Giver, this wonderful book, tells us that it's all worth it.
The Giver, Newberry Book Award Winner
Great news! The Weinstein Co. is releasing a film adaptation of the classic novel. Arguably the best female role offered by the movie is the Chief Elder, the terrifying yet sympathetic gatekeeper of all of the society’s dark secrets. Trust me, her secrets are about as dark as you can get. It’s a demanding part because the woman is evil but she has her (inherently human, even compassionate) reasons for running her world the way she does.
Even better news! MERYL STREEP WILL PLAY THE CHIEF ELDER. The brilliant actress can be ice cold (The Devil Wears Prada) and completely vulnerable (The Hours) with the same unstoppable ferocity; she exudes powerful womanhood. I cannot wait to see her as the villain that haunted my dreams as a child (and as an adult, let's be honest).
Watch out for Meryl Streep in The Giver in theaters next August!
Images via Cinema Blend, Hollywood Reporter