When it was published in 1993, Lois Lowry's The Giver was greeted with both praise and controversy. The novel (aimed at kids of middle school age) is set in a future world "with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy" and "all memory of human history has been erased." Lowry's main character is a 12-year-old boy who is chosen to become a "Receiver of Memory," the person who is aware of the community's history. Through the process of preparing for his role, the boy "discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy." Though the book won the prestigious Newbery Award in 1994, its subject matter and the way it "deals with suicide and euthanasia" also made it the 14th "most challenged" book (just behind Catcher in the Rye) in school libraries during the 1990s. Sigh.

According to Variety, a movie version of the story is finally on the way, under the guidance of kid-friendly Walden Media and 20th Century Fox. Though an early draft of the screenplay was written by Todd Alcott, Walden have asked Vadim Perelman (who wrote and directed House of Sand and Fog) to do a rewrite; Perelman will then direct the film from his own script. It's going to be utterly fascinated to see how faithful the resulting film is to the book - will Walden risk offended the same audiences who flocked to their The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe earlier this year?