10.28.2014 | Tuesday

The Giver

category: Book Reviews

The Givertitle: The Giver
author: Lois Lowry
series: The Giver #1
published: 26 April 1993
publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
genre(s): dystopian, sci fi
pages: 204
source: Kindle Unlimited
format: eBook
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | BookBub | Goodreads

rating: five-stars | series rating: five-stars

the blurb

The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.

my review

There is so much to love about this book, and so much that was deeply disturbing.  It is a world that, on the surface, seems as uptopian as one could imagine.  But is it really a utopia?  There are so many aspects to the world of The Giver that, for me, are as far from utopia as humanly possible.

Much of it was reminiscent of Huxley’s Brave New World.  Key parts of humanity have been stripped away.  Color, art, individuality, emotion.  Even child birth is more of a manufactured process that is dehumanized.  Social control is scary at best.  But these very disturbing things are exactly what make our main character Jonas so unique and instantly sympathetic.  This is a book about choices, about waking up and seeing things for what they truly are.  It is about determining your own future and deciding for yourself what is the most important.

I love a book that makes me think, that makes me question my own reality.  This is a book that does that.  It makes you question what aspects of humanity are truly important.  What would you be willing to sacrifice for a “better” world?  And what would a “better” world look like?  Is it worth lose wide emotional range that is an inherent part of humanity?  Is it worth losing a traditional family structure?

Things to love…

  • The depth of the messages.
  • Jonas.  He is one of the few characters that we, as readers, can truly understand.
  • The world.  The world of this book is intriguing.

Things I wanted more/less of…

  • Resolution.  What happens to Jonas?  To Gabe?  To the community itself?

While this is technically a young adult novel, it has some rather deep themes that are just as intriguing to adults.  This is an engaging read for fans of utopian/dystopian worlds.

About Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She was born in Hawaii and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan. After several years at Brown University, she turned to her family and to writing. She is the author of more than thirty books for young adults, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader.s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Association.s Children.s Book Award. Ms. Lowry now divides her time between Cambridge and an 1840s farmhouse in Maine.

Rating Report
Overall: five-stars

reading challenges:

::spread the love::

Leave a Reply