I can remember reading The Giver by Lois Lowry for class in middle school. Like many people, I was excited to hear that it was being adapted into a movie. This was the book that grabbed my attention and made me love reading. I was curious to see how the book was adapted into a movie.
The Giver is about a utopian society that watches your every move in order to assign each member of the society the perfect job, family unit, and life. To further promote the perfect society, the government has removed anything that could show a difference in people from emotions to colors. It is during the Ceremony of Twelve that Jonas will be assigned his perfect job. Jonas is assigned the very unique and prestigious position of The Receiver of Memories. The Receiver’s job is to remember the time when colors, emotions, and differences existed in society. Jonas goes on the adventure of a lifetime as he discovers what it means to live life with all the differences. During a particular training session, the Giver (the former Receiver), Jonas uncovers a map that shows a barrier of memories. It is believed that if the Receiver crosses this line that all emotion will return to the society. Jonas is faced with the decision to stay in the utopian society or to venture out into the great unknown.
The movie stars Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Katie Holmes and features Taylor Swift. The all-star cast brings to life this tale of growing up. With the use of color slowly creeping into the film as Jonas beings to see the difference, the movie allows viewers to be submerged into Jonas’ world. Strong performances from Bridges, Streep, and Thwaites make this movie believable. Bridges was born to portray The Giver. This adaptation seemed a little long at points, but arguably followed the main points of the original novel. Although, some people including author, Lois Lowry, have voiced their criticism. I believe that director, Phillip Noyce breathes new life into an often forgotten classic.
Like many people, once I heard about the movie adaptation of If I Stay by Gayle Forman, I had to read the book. After visiting multiple bookstores, I was able to snag a copy of this very popular book.
Seventeen year old Mia is a musical prodigy on the path to stardom with her cello, rock star boyfriend, and quirky yet supporting family. Her life is perfect in every sense. Then a simple trip to visit family friend turns her life into a nightmare. Mia’s world is turned upside down, when her family gets into a car accident. An unconscious Mia is sent to the hospital where she must fight for her life. The catch is Mia must make the decision to stay in this world or to pass on to the next. To make this decision, Mia uses a combination of flashbacks and an out of body experience to make her final decision.
This was an easy to follow book that drew me in with each flashback. Although it was not full of action, it was a sweet tale of finding your purpose in life. Some of the characters are a little out there like her rock star boyfriend and her quirky parents. However, they happened to be my favorite characters. In my copy of the book, I had bonus materials including the inspiration and reasoning behind some of Forman’s choices. This additional information made it easier to understand her point of view including the heavy use of music in the story. As far as the use of flashbacks and out of body experiences, I found myself as a reader skipping through the present day to the next flashback as they were more interesting. I felt a greater connection to Mia in her flashbacks instead of the out of body experiences. That being said, it was a unique read and I am excited to finally go see the movie adaptation.