So, last night I chose to break out of my book hermit ways and attended a discussion at a beautiful independent book store local to me (Byrd's Books in Bethel, CT if you want to make a trip). They were holding a conversation on The Giver in anticipation of the release of the film adaptation (August 15th!) and, as you know, I'm a big ole sucker for Jonas et al. I grabbed a good friend, a big cup of coffee and jumped out of my comfort zone.
And I'm so glad I did. It was a fascinating discussion between a diverse group of readers... all whose experience of The Giver varied so widely. I was the youngest and was 12 years old when the book was released, making me Lowry's intended audience at the time of my first exposure to it. We had a bunch of people that were adults in the early 90s and read it as their children discovered it. And there were even a few who had picked it up for the very first time after years of being recommended it.
Having loved this book for close to *gulp* 21 years and having read it more than any other book I've ever re-read in my life, it was amazing to me that there were certain realizations that I had not yet come to. Be it a different life experience or just a different personality, this group of strangers had me seeing The Giver in an entirely new light. And the fact that a reader can still find something new in a book two decades later proves that Lowry's work holds up through time and circumstance.
At the end of the discussion, the owner walked over to me, handed me a hardcover copy of The Giver and kindly said "Here, I want you to have this". And then proceeded to tell me THAT IT IS A SIGNED COPY!
::cue where Bear Allen loses her shit, ALL CAPS style::
I OWN A SIGNED COPY OF THE GIVER BY LOIS LOWRY! I POSSESS A SIGNED COPY OF MY VERY FAVORITE BOOK IN THE WORLD! SOMETHING LOIS LOWRY TOUCHED NOW RESIDES IN MY LIBRARY! THE WOMAN WHO THOUGHT UP ELSEWHERE AND RELEASE AND ASSIGNMENTS PUT PEN TO PAPER AND NOW I OWN THAT PAPER!
Annnnnnd, most of you know me by now. So you know I teared up. The Giver was the first book that really made me see the world of books available to me. And that discovery changed my life. It has made me who I am today (and we all know I think I'm pretty awesome). And to receive such a precious gift means more to 33 year old Bear Allen and 12 year old Bear Allen than I could ever express in these insufficient strokes on a keyboard.
And 12 year old Bear Allen... sorry about your hair. I make up for it later... promise!