Guest / Limited Access /
'The Giver' Keeps Giving
David Bloomer / The Weinstein Company
Odeya Rush and Brenton Thwaites in 'The Giver'

Alissa's note: I asked Elissa Cooper, CT's assistant editor who recently saw the film adaptation of The Giver (out this weekend), to write about some of her thoughts on the books and the film. And I'm very glad I did.

We'll also run a review of the film this weekend.

Four and a half years ago, as an intern for CT, I visited a home that provided aftercare for trafficked teenage girls. Between interviews, I participated in their daily lives: We ate meals together, went shopping, and just sat and talked. One night, some workers talked about how one of the hardest challenges involved hearing the girls’ stories.

“Jordan”’s past experiences were pretty horrific. Nightmares plagued her. She shared her memories with the others so she could talk through issues and pray and try to alleviate the pain. But in hearing Jordan’s memories, others had nightmares and struggled with the pain and evilness of it all.

When we reached a break in the conversation, I asked, “Have you ever read The Giver?”

It sounds like a strange question. Why think of a secular juvenile book that has absolutely nothing to do with sex trafficking?

But I had my reasons for not suggesting a Christian story. First, the Christian workers already had theology and spirituality texts at their disposal—they even wrote some of the books. Second, not all the residents claimed a Christian faith, so this provided another outlet for reaching the girls. But most importantly, The Giver—the book and its subsequent companions in the Giver Quartet as well as the recent film—makes a strong case for the importance of sharing memory, both for the individual and the community. As a result, it also ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Watch This Way
How we watch matters at least as much as what we watch. TV and movies are more than entertainment: they teach us how to live and how to love one another, for better or worse. And they both mirror and shape our culture.
Alissa Wilkinson
Alissa Wilkinson is Christianity Today's chief film critic and assistant professor of English and humanities at The King's College in New York City. She lives in Brooklyn.
Previous Watch This Way Columns:
Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueThe Most Uncomfortable Christmas Verse
Subscriber Access Only
The Most Uncomfortable Christmas Verse
"But women will be saved by childbearing," may not mean what you think it means.
RecommendedHacksaw Ridge: The Bloody, True Story of Faith in Action
Hacksaw Ridge: The Bloody, True Story of Faith in Action
Mel Gibson’s new film raises questions about religious liberty and moral conviction amidst national turmoil.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickThe Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
The Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
How the New Testament offers a better, higher calling than the Declaration of Independence.
Christianity Today
'The Giver' Keeps Giving
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

August 2014

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.