The Giver (#1 The Giver Quartet)
By Lois Lowry
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.
I was a little worried about flipping through the less than two hundred pages of the The Giver and not fully grasping or analyzing the novel with the kind of concentration a piece of well established literature deserves. In spite of this, as much as I found the novel equal parts alluring and intriguing, I was surprisingly disappointed. Regardless the premise seemed promising.
The book starts with a fairly detailed introduction to the world of Sameness. Bland, structured and boring seemed like adequate words to describe this strange dystopian reality upon learning about it’s customs and harsh rules. Then unexpectedly (well, not to us as readers) Jonah finds himself in a position to learn about things outside of this world’s strict confines. The other characters contentment with the uncomplicated life they live isolates Jonah from the rest of the community and sets him apart. I greatly appreciated Jonah’s anger, loneliness and the other characters inability to comprehend emotions and specifically Jonah’s emotions.
However the book was so short. There was very little time for us to establish connections with any of the characters. While there is strong world building in this novel, that is where it ends. Where in most dystopian novels we get to see the system crumble and burn in the wake of the protagonist’s epiphany The Giver does not deliver on that front. I found myself continuously frustrated with the lack of action and development of characters or plot. The author did not explore any possibilities or confrontations with Jonah’s family and friends.
Additionally, the ending was abrupt and stilted. My understanding was that the author wanted the ending to remain ambiguous and open for interpretation, as such I do not begrudge her the strange compromise the Giver and Jonah come to. Furthermore, there were several plot holes I felt were not sufficiently resolved. So while I plunged into this novel starry eyed, I found myself emerging from Jonah’s adventure bleary eyed and thoroughly confused. However, I urge you to read the novel and come to your own conclusions on a book that has become a modern classic of epic proportions.
When I took this book of the shelf I was remembering the raving and attention the book had received and thought to myself that it would simply be an amazing novel as everyone had be raving about it. I had no idea how wrong I was. I really really really disliked the book although you could argue that this is simply because the novel was built up so much that it was really a given that I would dislike it.
“The Giver” is really very similar to most novels that are written now a days. The novel is about a flawed utopian society where one boy learns the truth behind everything he thought was real. I found the writing to be rather confusing at times, I was lost at some points of the novel and did not comprehend the true meaning behind certain moments and ideas. It is my belief that this is a novel meant for a deep and thoughtful analysis to accompany the reading. Although I found the plot to be lacking i did find the novel to be a riveting and thoughtful novel but the true question “Would i read it again?” and the answer to that would be no. Although not for one instance do I regret reading it.
I would most definitely recommend everyone to read the novel but to be wary that in my opinion the novel is not all it’s made up to be.