Concerns About "The Giver" and "The Truman Show"

Written for:
Child in 7th grade
Written in response to permission slip
to watch the movie as part of the study of the book.
Reader Submission

Dear Mrs. [Name],

Thank you for your note about the book "The Giver" and the movie "The Truman Show." I am choosing to allow [Child] to see the movie but wish to take this opportunity to share my concerns about this assignment with you.

I know that "The Giver" is a Newbery Medal winner and that it appears on many 7th grade curricula throughout the country. Still, it is a controversial book. I have read "The Giver" and I find its subject matter and its presentation to be disturbing. This is not to say that I believe that the book should not be read. I have already told [Child] that I have read the book and have lent her my copy. Additionally, I have advised her that it is a hard book to read because of what happens within the story.

While I am sure you are aware of the more controversial aspects of the book such as euthanasia and the "stirrings" of sexual feelings, I am also concerned about how it presents and deals with aspects of a baby living in an institution and children who are not with their birth families but living with adoptive parents. Additionally, there is the author's decision to highlight the undesirability of being a "Birthmother" within this fictional community. These just happen to be themes that are repeated in "The Truman Show." In fact, both stories characterize a child's adoption as unemotional and impersonal.

No one is ever sure how children will react when presented with new and thought-provoking ideas and I am sure this selection will lead to some fascinating class discussions for you. Within that context, though, I would just like to remind you that you have at least one child in your class who does not know her birth parents, was placed in an institution as a baby and then later adopted. I ask that you remain sensitive to the emotions that may arise if class discussions turn to these aspects of the story.

In closing, let me thank you again for your note and to ask you to share with me your teaching plans for the book and movie as I very much would like to be aware of how they are to be presented.

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