Review: The Giver (Lois Lowry)

 

Whoa! The third book in my 30 Before 30 Reading List! This was a quick and easy read, in part because it’s a middle-grade book, but mostly because it was well-written and the story so captivating that I simply refused to put it down until I finished. Luckily it didn’t take as many hours as Room did.

The Giver is all the rage, of course, because there’s a movie coming up based on it, and of course you should always read the book before you see the movie (well, I’m not that strict with that rule, but still… I found myself looking all over for the book just so I could read it as soon as possible). From what I gathered by seeing the trailer, though, the movie won’t be anything like the book, because they’ve aged Jonas to appeal to the teen market, quite like what they did with Ella Enchanted, and made several plot changes, it seems. Oh well.The trailer looks promising though, and it will probably be a good movie if you try and forget that it’s based on the book, I suppose.

What The Giver is, then, is a dystopian story that I believe predates the trend of dystopian stories in today’s literature. It’s told from the point of view of Jonas, who is a twelve-year-old boy living in the midst of the society. This results in a story that doesn’t give you an elaborate description about what the society is like. Instead, the knowledge builds up as Jonas experiences something, and as the truth is revealed to him. Which makes for a surprising read, if not a bit annoying at times. I was SO annoyed with the “change” that Jonas can’t seem to describe that keeps happening. For a moment I thought his world was like The Matrix, but of course I was wrong.

There are so many things in the story that isn’t articulated right away, so you get taken aback by realization of what is actually happening every so often. And then, of course, there is the ending. The ending left me staring at the book for a long time. Then I looked up the other books. Except that the books aren’t continuation but rather other sorts of dystopian communities around. The realization that whatever happened to Jonas and the baby is entirely up to me was devastating, mainly because I find it very hard to think about it positively. Which tells you a lot about how grown-up minds work because I’m sure children who read this story will look at it the happy way.

I had written the lesson I learned from this book in the 30 Before 30 Check-in I did a few weeks back, but now that I look back at it, it seems like an oversimplification and a little bit obvious. There are actually a lot of “lessons” in this book. It’s definitely one I would re-read one day.

The Giver Book Cover The Giver
Lois Lowry
179 pages

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.

Aiko

If I had my way, I’d spend the rest of my days at the corner of a coffee shop, reading, writing, and talking to the one I love.

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