“The Giver (The Giver Quartet#1)” by Lois Lowry
Genre: Children’s Fiction, Dystopian, Classic
Summary from Goodreads:
Jonas’s 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
I somehow made it through 12 years of public school without reading this book. I’ve known about it for a long time but never read it. Honestly up until the last few years I’ve never really had any interest in reading it. I was a bit worried that I might be disappointed that when I finally got around it because I’m very interested in dystopian fiction now. I thought I might build it up too much in my mind and be let down. Thankfully, that didn’t happen!
The world building is on the simpler side because it is a short book and it is a children’s book. That doesn’t stop the world from being fairly complex though. I like the way that the story started out as almost a utopia. Everything seems so perfect, you almost start considering what it would be like to live in that situation. Soon enough the cracks start to appear.
The book definitely does explore some deep issues. Having choices does lead to danger, pain, and adversity but that’s the stuff that makes life worth living, right? It does make you wonder, would you give up choice if it meant you could have a pain-free existence?
I can see why kids don’t typically like this book when they read it for school. It is weird. It is hard to understand especially if you’ve never read dystopian fiction. I’m almost willing to bet I wouldn’t have liked this if I read it in middle school. It’s amazing how much of a difference several years can make though. There were aspects of this book that I wouldn’t have understood at 11/12 years old. It’s definitely worth a re-read for all you folks that read it in school.
Why did this have to be so short?! I’ve said it before but seeing how these messed up worlds function is my favorite part of dystopian fiction. I needed to see how the rest of the community works. What other ceremonies did they have for each age? What other weird jobs do they have? What were the events that lead them to think that living like this would be for the best?
On a related side note: I’m a bit disappointed with the release. I had this mental image of them opening up the back door of a building and throwing (or releasing) the people out into the wilderness, haha.
Loved it! The book is definitely a keeper.