I read a book a few years back that I’m hoping someone can identify for me. These are the tidbits I remember:

  • Smallish community setting, near-future
  • Microphone surveillance in every room
  • Kids tossing a ball, one of them noticed the ball was "somehow different" (could identify the color red for the first time)
  • Kids being appointed jobs when they came of age except protagonist
  • Protagonist was skipped in job appointment ceremony, but was given special one-of-a-kind-job. Someone apologies to community and everyone responds "Apology accepted", which is sort of a cultural custom.
  • The elder who’s job the protagonist was replacing had great respect in the community and the inconceivable power to disable the microphone in his home

Any one know what book this is? I read it probably twelve years ago.


This sounds a lot like The Giver by Lois Lowry

From "The Giver", Wikipedia:

Jonas, who is 12, is apprehensive about the upcoming Ceremony of Twelve, where he will be assigned his career or his "assignment in the community". In his society, little privacy is allowed; even private houses have two-way intercoms which can be used to listen in for infractions of the rules. However, the rules appear to be readily accepted by all, including Jonas. So it is without real protest that he initially accepts his selection as the Receiver of Memory, a vocation he is told will be filled with pain and the training for which will isolate him from his family and friends forever.

Yet, under the guidance of the present Receiver, a surprisingly kind man who has the same rare, pale eyes as Jonas, the boy absorbs memories that induce for the first time feelings of true happiness and love. Also, for the first time, Jonas knows what it is to see a rainbow, and to experience snow and the thrill of riding a sled down a hill. But then he is given the painful memories: war, pain, death, and starvation.

  • Thank you. This was exactly it. Changing my Google searches from “microphone” to “intercoms” found it right away. It’s always just one little thing that breaks search-
    – Daniel
    Jun 18 '15 at 19:22
  • I also mostly enjoyed the movie. Of course, it did help that Jeff Bridges was the giver. Jun 18 '15 at 19:42
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    Aeyoun you're right about "always just one little thing"; but I feel if we had these neural connections to begin with we wouldn't have needed Google's help. I hope someday there's a separate search engine for "things I should remember" vs "things I never knew" Jun 18 '15 at 22:35

I don't recall anything about microphones, but the rest of it sounds like The Giver by Lois Lowry.

Jonas, nearing his twelfth year, is troubled by his strange experiences. He has strange dreams he can't explain, and sees things that don't make sense. No one he knows experiences them, and no one will talk to him about them. When he is singled out as the next Receiver of Memories at the yearly coming of age ceremony, he becomes the apprentice of a man who calls himself the Giver. Able to transfer memories of another time, the Giver helps Jonas understand what is happening to him, and to take action when an infant's life us threatened.

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