“The Giver” – Book Review: Is Living in a Perfect World, Perfect?

How would you feel if everything was chosen for you? The age you will learn how to bike? The clothes you wear? The age when you get your very first jacket? Your job? The parents and sibling you will have? The words you say? A world where no feelings exist, no illness, no pain, no fear? Welcome to The Community, the home of a twelve year old boy named Jonas. He and his community live by the rules set by The Elders for as long as he can remember. Jonas has never considered to question anything about himself or the life he lives until he sees something. He doesn’t understand. He cannot fathom what is it, or what it was, but he doesn’t question. He believes he might be ill until he receives his new title as The Receiver of Memories, the highest honor in The Community, where now he can ask The Giver anything he wants. Anything. And he does. What he learns, not only frightens him, but awakens him to what reality truly is.


 

If you haven’t read this novel, YOU MUST! It’s short, thought-provoking, life-changing, and simply eloquently written. This novel instantly became one of my favorites! There’s so much in a few pages I didn’t want it to end! I was praying there was a sequel and even though there is, its with new characters. Sad times. Without further ado, here’s a synopsis.

(Photo Credit: Lois Lowry) Book Cover
(Photo Credit: Lois Lowry) Book Cover

Synopsis

“It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.”

Thus opens this haunting novel in which a boy inhabits a seemingly ideal world: a world without conflict, poverty, unemployment, divorce, injustice, or inequality. It is a time in which family values are paramount, teenage rebellion is unheard of, and even good manners are a way of life.

December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve year old receives a life assignment determined by the Elders. Jonas watches his friend Fiona named Caretaker of the Old and his cheerful pal Asher labeled theAssistant Director of Recreation. But Jonas has been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man -the man called only the Giver -he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile perfection of his world.

Told with deceptive simplicity, this is the provocative story of a boy who experiences something incredible and undertakes something impossible. In the telling it questions every value we have taken for granted and reexamines our most deeply held beliefs.”” – LoisLowry.com 


My Thoughts

As previously stated, I was hoping there was a sequel to this novel. I wanted to know what happened to Jonas! I couldn’t possibly imagine living in a Utopian society where everything is literally chosen for me. Ironically if I did live like that, I probably wouldn’t know that I am, right?

However I kind of felt like our lives ARE in fact similar; our “Elders” conceal vital information for their citizens, don’t they? For my sake, I won’t go TOO into detail with that. Moving on!

I liked how even though Jonas began to feel pain and sorrow, he also learned to feel ALIVE, something most people, myself included, tend to forget. We get so consumed with other issues or concerns in our lives that we forget to LIVE, and be grateful for everything even as little as being able to pick a color to paint a room. This novel made me reevaluate my life. I’m glad to know what LOVE is, jealousy, hate, confusion, sadness. I’m so glad I’m human, and not a walking and talking mannequin with no soul.

After finishing the novel, I went outside and just sat outside with my dog. I hugged her and let her lick my face and just enjoyed the moment because that moment won’t ever happen again. OK maybe THAT type of moment will occur some other evening, but you know what I mean. In the end, Jonas has to make a choice: continue living in this pretend world where only he and The Giver will know everything about their Communities past and CANNOT tell anyone, or to leave and let his Community suffer and learn their true history.

It is up to a 12 year old boy to change the course of their history, and the decision he makes, is breathtaking. I love this novel.

“The Giver” Movie

Just watching the trailer had me upset. The protagonist is 12. NOT 18 YEARS OLD! Seriously!? How dare you! I will be the firs to say that after reading this splendid novel and seeing this terrible trailer, I will gladly not be watching this movie. They already got the protagonist wrong, what ELSE will be incorrect for this film? Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. However, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and that one was mine. Here is the trailer for the upcoming film.

What they shouldn’t have done was have this film in various shades of grey instead of color because that is all the Community and Jonas see THEN once Jonas begins to see colors, gradually add those colors, one by one. The movie hasn’t came out yet and I already hate it. Oh well. Maybe it won’t be SO bad. I still won’t watch it though.

My Rating:

This novel is a hands down 5/5. Beautifully written. Simply a beautiful story of being alive.

 

About Valeria Espinoza

Hey guys! I'm Val. 28 years old. Mother of three pups. Marvel enthusiast. Bibliophile. Professional Napper. Cosmetologist. BA in English. Former percussionist. Yea. I've been busy. :)

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