On August 11, 2014, thousands of teens and their parents eagerly purchased tickets for the long-awaited film adaptation of Lois Lowry’s 1994 Newbery Award-winning novel The Giver. My teenaged son read it in junior high and loved it. I loved it too. Like Madelyn L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Lowry’s The Giver has a subterranean angst that readers can feel bubbling under their fingertips as pages are turned, a sense that no matter how calm this world is on the outside, something is irreparably wrong.
Everyone complains when a beloved novel is turned into a film. This may be especially true of science fiction works, as entirely new worlds depend on an individual’s imagination formed from an author’s words. When one person, a director, substitutes his own vision for that of countless personal interpretations, tempers flare. While most moviegoers understand the necessity of divergences from the original text, other alterations are harder to accept.
There is good news for young adults (and parents) who are tired of lifeless, often commercially-oriented films. Two classic novels for young people, Lois Lowry’s The Giver is in production and Judy Blume’s Tiger Eyes was released in 2012.
Winner of the 1994 Newbery Medal, Lowry’s The Giver is often required reading in junior high and it is one novel that most students enthusiastically embrace. Set in the future, Lowry’s riveting tale revolves around Jonas and his “community.” When Jonas is selected to be the new “Receiver of Memories,” he discovers that the idealized life his community has created is horrific. Little by little, Jonas becomes increasingly aware that everyone he knows and loves, and everything he has been taught in his engineered, perfect world is evil.
For the film version, (the making of which has been rumored for some fifteen years) actor Jeff Bridges will play the lead. Auditions are still underway to fulfill the role of Jonas. You can listen to an interview with Lowry and the upcoming film based on her novel on NPR’s Studio 360 here.
(Have you been assigned The Giver in school or do you want to learn more? Here at eNotes, not only do we have a comprehensive study guide for the work, but also individual quizzes for each chapter of the novel! Test your knowledge before your exam or just for fun!)
Another teen favorite which made its debut on the big screen recently is Judy Blume’s classic novel Tiger Eyes. Tiger Eyes is about teenager Davey Wexler dealing with her father’s sudden and shocking death. Like all of Blume’s work, (which has won over ninety awards) the author treats real world concerns of teenagers with deftness but also includes her trademark humor which keeps even the most sensitive of topics from becoming overbearing. Tiger Eyes was released in April 2012. You can listen to an interview with Blume on NPR’s Think with Krys Boyd here.
Want to learn more about Tiger Eyes? Check out our study guide and stay tuned for upcoming chapter-by-chapter quizzes for the work!
Readers, what other Young Adult novels would you like to see given a cinematic treatment?