THE GIVER BY LOIS LOWRY
Genre: YA, Modern Classic, Dystopian
Series: The Giver Quartet
“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”
– Lois Lowry, The Giver
Jonas’ world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back. [Goodreads]
So I decided to do something a little different because this is a reread for me. I am making this into a book talk. I will do my normal regular review, but since so many people have read this I also wanted to do a more in-depth (spoiler) discussion on the book and my thoughts.
The Giver is a modern classic dystopian that has themes in which we can see threaded throughout the dystopian genre today. Although quite short this book manages to pack in a lot of information, action and thought provoking concepts in a subtle and effective way. The society has been able to maintain peace and what looks like a utopian civilization by keeping a “sameness” throughout all matters of life. This brings about the questions and thoughts of what is worth giving up to live a peaceful yet empty life. Love is not an emotion that is experienced along with many other emotions and states of mind. On the notion that ignorance is bliss this society is kept in the dark of many issues and brought up on the fact that your life is an open book which lying is looked down upon, but there are many secrets being kept from the citizens. Not all utopian communities are what they seem on the surface.
This book is told from the perspective of a almost 12 year old boy named Jonas. He is about to turn 12 yrs old and be assigned his job in the community. He ends up receiving a special job and with it comes many secrets that have been kept from him, his whole life and now he must figure out how to handle everything he had just learned. Although I do feel like the story might have been more effective coming from someone older, it was a very thought provoking novel.
There was a lack of depth in world building and character development because of it being so short and directed towards a younger audience, but I still think it is a very important must read. I enjoyed it even more the fourth time around because I knew the story and was really able to analyze and pick apart the story. There were so many situations and issues in which I stopped and thought a lot about. I put myself into Jonas’s place and tried to figure out how I would handle the role and life he was put into. I think this is an important piece of work and a must read for those who enjoy the dystopian genre. Much like the other classic works of dystopian fiction, the more modern and current works draw on aspects and ideas that are brought about by these works.
* This may contain spoilers*
I took many notes while reading this book since it was like the fourth time I have read this. So I am just going to add some of the points that I marked and made note of to start a discussion based on the book.
♠ It is crazy to me that they thing stuffed animals are imaginary creatures that don’t actually exist in the world. It was interesting that they all get a different one once they are placed in a family.
♠ Sex is a very taboo subject matter. Families do not actually have their children, but receive a child (only two) when the child reaches a year old. There is a certain job for child birth, but it never explains how the “birthers” get pregnant.Sexual desires are treated with pills. (Parts of this reminds me of so situations in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley)
♠ All of life is watched and monitored. Creepy.
♠ It is crazy to think they are assigned to jobs and considered adults at the age of 12.
♠ The sameness of the society reminds me of a socialist/communist society. Also makes me think a little of the movie Pleasantville because they dont see color and such!
♠ They have lost all opportunity/capacity to make decisions and choice
♠ There is no individual thoughts and a loss of childhood.
Please be sure to visit Ashley’s blog over at Falling Down the Book Hole, and catch my review there as well! I hope you enjoyed this review! Have a great Monday!!