Title: The Giver
Author: Lois Lowry
Genre: Classic Fiction
Status: Book 1 of The Giver quartet
It’s a perfect world, where everything looks right. But ugly truths lie beneath the surface…
It is the future. There is no war, no hunger, no pain. No one in The Community wants for anything. Everyone is provided for. Each Family Unit is entitled to one female and male child. Each member of The Community has their profession carefully chosen for them by the Committee of Elders, and they never make a mistake.
Jonas, a sensitive twelve-year-old boy, had never thought there was anything wrong with his Community, until one day. From the moment Jonas is selected as the Receiver of Memory at The Ceremony, his life is never the same. Jonas discovers that The Community is not as perfect as it seems. Although they appear to have everything, they are missing something of great importance. It is up to Jonas, with the help of the Giver, to find what long ago had been lost. And so Jonas embarks on an adventure to save the world as he knows it.
Simply and beautifully written, The Giver is sure to touch the heart of every reader. Lois Lowry deals with issues of everyday life that are so often taken for granted. Through the noble character of Jonas, she presents a glimpse of what could be the future. As the tension in the novel mounts, so does the number of questions that Lowry confronts the reader with. The Giver is a book of courage and adventure, and most importantly, one of deep thought. Once readers make contact with Lowry’s treasure, they may never see things exactly quite the same. Lowry presents a forceful novel that demands to be heard and philosophically dealt with.
My best friend gave me this book and said READ IT and I wasn’t very inclined to. The synopsis behind was vague, I had only heard of it a couple times and I wasn’t in the mood for books not Fantasy. But if my best friend loved it, it has to be really good so I kept it and read when I finally got the mood.
AND I WAS BLOWN AWAY. THE END.
Honestly, though. What a book.
We follow the story of 12 year old Jonas who lives in a “perfect society”. Everyone lives a happy, stable life with all their actions guided by the Elders. Everyone has their jobs and routines, they’re carefully monitored and assigned careers and partners; everyone goes along well and there is no questioning. Let me explain using a few examples.
There is thing called “Dream-telling” for kids as a routine every morning. Their dreams—and hence their innermost thoughts—are encouraged to share and the parents handle these appropriately. It’s the most innocent form of monitoring a kid and curbing rebelliousness.
There are no passionate feelings as well. When a teenager begins to feel attraction or lust, it usually manifests as dreams and once they confess, they’re immediately given pills to consume. This effectively removes those feelings from you. There are no disturbances or anyone breaking the code because they don’t even feel proper bonding with another human. There is no such thing as love.
None of them even see COLOURS! It’s all uniform. The same. It’s like being stuck in a school where individuality is frowned apon, only here you’re guided to not be too individualistic.
There’s a ceremony where all the 12 year olds are assigned their posts and begin training for the career they’ve been assigned. Jonas gets assigned to be the next Receiver. This is rare. No one knows what it actually means, and the Receivers are forbidden to tell others. Suddenly, everything changes for Jonas and he FINALLY sees things as they are. He sees colours! He has feelings! He sees the society for what it is, and has been for so long. Because being the Receiver, he’s handed with the responsibility of knowing all this and bearing the burden alone.
Why is this book discussion-worthy?
The whole book is BASED on the idea of a “perfect” society and this level of non-conflict is only possible if everyone views everything the same and there’s no feelings involved. By removing all the things that make us who we are and gives us joy (leading to conflict in some situations, yes), you can curate a peaceful society where everyone live their lives being clueless. They’re like robots. The society in this book is a well-oiled machine with everyone having their own tasks to do and their own part to play, and the majority of them know hardly anything above what’s been told to them. And they don’t ask.
This creates a lot of questions in you—about what you think is a perfect world, and would you give up things of joy and individualism for a world with no conflict.
Beautifully written book with all the ideals we should think about. It makes you THINK. I would have loved to read this for English class in school and dissect everything. This is the book for book clubs and discussion panels.
The author wrote a note in the end. She mentioned receiving hate mails saying how she’ll go to hell and that this book is against God. She mentioned how it took a LONG time for her book to become critically acclaimed. Apparently this book is even banned in two states of America.
All this came with writing a book which makes you question your principles—what would you choose: the uniformity but no colours and feelings, or the joy alongside the violence and conflict? I applaud the author for writing this. It’s now the book which made me think the most, and I will forever remember it.