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.
*My Book Review*
Anyone remember the Anastasia Krupnik books? They were one of my favourite series of books while growing up. I had absolutely no idea that the author, Lois Lowry, had written anything else. But she has, and her dystopian series (starting with The Giver) is just divine.
The Giver begins with what feels like entry into a cult world, rather than a dystopian one. But I guess, the two worlds are quite similar, I just hadn’t seen it bought out into the open quite so much before. And the more you read, the more it also feels like an oppressive communist society,which is probably truer to the world building than the original cult-like one. Either way, it’s a bleak outlook.
Lowry has created something truly special with The Giver. Her development of ‘sameness’ is pure creep-show and I was feeling ill at all the implications that became reality by the end of this novel. This ‘sameness’ reminded me of the way Jean M. Auel described the Neanderthal way of processing information and retrieving memories in her Clan of the Cave Bear series. However, some memories are off limits and this is where the title character of the Giver comes into play.
Every child is given a career. Mostly, they become labourers, teachers, carers; people needed by society to function. For this is a purely functional world. There is no imagination, no fantasy life, just ‘sameness’. The people even only see in black and white!
There is one special non-functional job though, that of the Giver. And this is the journey we follow. That of the child, Jonas, who is picked to take over this role from the older Giver.
There were times, throughout this novel, that I felt sick right to the centre of my core. Some of the subjects grappled by Lowry are tough fodder. Yet, of all the books I have read so far for the Dystopia Reading Challenge, this is my favourite.
The journey we are taken on is a hard one, the road less travelled by the current standard of YA dystopia novels, but by the end of the book, you find you have been rewarded with a gift, just as Jonas, the new Giver has also been given – that of the promise of a better world.
I am giving The Giver by Lois Lowry 5 out of 5 stars.
- Dystopia Reading Challenge. Book 7: Apocalypto: Samael’s Fire by LK Rigel (racheltsoumbakos.wordpress.com)