Author: Lois Lowry
Publication Date: January 24th, 2006
Synopsis: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 Thoughts: This was a pretty short read so I won't be able to say too much about it. But I can tell you that I really enjoyed it. It was compelling and a definite page turner. I finished it in less than a day, which isn't that impressive when you think how short it is. But as a mom of 3, I don't get a lot of free time haha. It was hard to put it down and I was always excited to pick it back up and get a few more minutes reading in.
Don't laugh, but I didn't even know what Dystopians were until a fairly recently. Once I found out what they were I realized I had already read a few of them, but I have discovered that I really like them. I don't think I've read one yet I didn't enjoy. This was was really good and probably close to the top of my favorite Dystopians. It reminded me a lot of 1984 by George Orwell. They were the same in the way that no one was in control of their own lives, no one gets to make choices. But in the Giver they take one thing even further. In 1984, they altered history and events to their own advantage, but in The Giver, history doesn't really exist. All these people live in essentially a little box. They only know what the ancients want them to know, which isn't anything at all really. How to do their job and that's it. Even families aren't made by choice. Matches for partners are made by the ancients, and even children are matched to parents. I'm not even entirely sure how kids are made in this world. I know some women are assigned the role of Birth Mother. It's their job to have babies, literally. But, as far as I can tell, there are no such thing as sexual relations in this story. In fact the main character is told to take a pill that wipes out all such urges and thoughts.
So at the age of 12 you are given your job, what your roll for the rest of your life will be. The main character Jonas receives the most important and hardest job of all. He is chosen as the Receiver. The Receiver and The Giver are the ones who hold all the memories of the past. From the really amazing things, like sunshine, and love. To the really terrible things like war and sickness. Jonas was completely unprepared for what he is about to take in. Immediately upon learning about these things that no longer exist, even colors, he wants to share them with his friends. But that is against the rules. But Jonas and The Giver are looking to change those rules. They agree it's time to give the memories back to everyone.
It was so interesting and fun to read about someone discovering and being amazed by all these things that seem so commonplace to us. I feel like this book also carries a deeper message about freedom and choice and what kinds of things have lead us to the world we live in today. In many ways, this world is better by far. But then again, who wouldn't like to live in a world where there is no sickness or war or hunger. Would you be willing to sacrifice almost everything you know now for those things?
It definitely ended on a cliff hanger! I need to get to the library and read the rest of the series for sure. I would definitely recommend this book. Especially to all Dystopian fans since it's pretty much a classic.