My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Giver is one of those books you start reading and immediately know is a modern classic. Ahead of its time, The Giver is a young adult novel that presents a dystopian society which is perfectly ordered and free of war, crime, pain, and love. The story follows 12 year-old Jonas who is selected to be a Receiver of memory by the Elders of his community. In Jonas’ world, everyone is assigned a job they must do without question. His role as a Receiver is the most honored job of all. He trains daily for his new occupation with an elder man known only as the Giver, who transmits his memories of an old world full of emotion and pain to Jonas. Each memory Jonas receives from the Giver creates more discontentment within the young man and he soon longs for a world that less orderly and blissfully unaware of emotion.
Lois Lowry’s book is an excellent read and I highly recommend it to anyone who’s into the current trend of young adult dystopia. Lowry writes elegantly and captures Jonas’ emerging emotions very well. One particular scene that was especially moving was when Jonas witnesses a newborn being “released” from the community by his father through means of infanticide. Lowry perfectly captures Jonas’ outrage and sadness in the scene and really helps you identify with the young boy. Despite the fact, the book is written for a younger audience and I think an adult could easily fall in love with the book. It’s a short read and I was left wanting more when the final page came, but there are more books set in Jonas’ world written by Lowry.
My only minor critique of the book besides its length is the ending. The last scene with Jonas comes rather abruptly and I found myself questioning whether the author had left it open for interpretation sort of like in final scene of the movie Inception where you’re not sure if the top keeps spinning or not. My wife assured me I was reading too much into it so I’ve let it go, but the ending is still a bit unresolved for me. Nonetheless, I still wholeheartedly enjoyed the book and I think anyone who is a fan of YA science fiction does themselves a disservice by not picking up this book!