The Giver, by Lois Lowry*, shows you a world where everything is perfect…and controlled in almost all aspects.
Eleven year old Jonas lives in the Community. In the Community, there is no war, pain, fury or inequality. Nobody knows of war or Christmas, the very bad is hidden away with the very good. But there are also no choices, differences or individuality. Parents raise and teach their children from a young age to fit in with their fellow citizens.
However, one person remembers a time when love and hate existed. He is The Receiver and experienced both great good and terrible evil. The Receiver is the Community’s only link to the unsheltered past where strong emotions like despair and joy raged unchecked. When the Council, the Community’s government, desires advice, the Receiver is the one who shares because he knows of the past’s mistakes and triumphs.
When eleven year olds reach the age of twelve, they attend the Ceremony of Twelve, where they receive their assignments (jobs) in the Community, and begin their job training. This year Jonas is twelve and will receive his assignment. He’s both excited and nervous. He’s unsure what his role will be. Unlike his friends Asher and Fiona, he’s never done volunteer work all in one place consistently.
To Jonas’s shock, he’s skipped at the Ceremony of Twelve. The Chief Elder announces that he’s been singled out as the next Receiver. During training, the former Receiver explains that Jonas is now the Receiver and he the Giver, and will receive memories from him, so that he can hold the memories for the Community.
Over time Jonas will learn of realities he would’ve never discovered without the Giver about the Community. As Jonas tastes memories of the past, he begins to realize the truth about the restricted world he lives in. What will he do with the powerful truth that he possesses?
*Winner of the 1994 Newberry Medal
I initially read The Giver because of the many good reviews I’d heard about it. I was not disappointed. In fact, the book exceeded my expectations and told an excellent story with a hidden message. You can’t have freedom without choice and neither can you truly appreciate the good things in life without experiencing the bad, too. I wouldn’t be surprised if The Giver is still a well-known book fifty years from now. This book definitely qualifies as a Read It! book with it’s beautifully disguised dystopia that makes reading the book all the more enjoyable.
Rating: Read It!
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