Title: The Giver (The Giver Quartet #1)
Author: Lois Lowry
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Check this book out on Goodreads.
Life in the community where Jonas lives is idyllic. Designated birthmothers produce newchildren, who are assigned to appropriate family units: one male, one female, to each. Citizens are assigned their partners and their jobs. No one thinks to ask questions. Everyone obeys. The community is a world without conflict, inequality, divorce, unemployment injustice…or choice.
Everyone is the same.
At the Ceremony of Twelve, the community’s twelve-year-olds eagerly accept their predetermined Life Assignments. But Jonas is chosen for something special. He begins instruction in his life’s work with a mysterious old man known only as The Giver. Gradually Jonas learns that power lies in feelings. But when his own power is put to the test—when he must try to save someone he loves—he may not be ready. Is it too soon? Or too late? (Source: Goodreads)
I’ve wanted to read this book for a while now. I didn’t hear about this book until I was in university. I know a lot of people read it in middle school and high school and it’s something of a popular utopia/dystopia book, and though a lot of classes in my high school did have it in their curriculum mine did not. I heard about it and was sort of intrigued by the idea, but only recently picked it up. I got it while out shopping at Costco. It was cheap and I couldn’t help myself.
This book was really good. I am so glad I finally read it and I really want to read the other 3 books. I need to. I’m not really a big dystopia/fake-utopia type books I tend to avoid them, but this was so good. The truth is not a lot happens in this book. It introduces this community where there is nothing ever wrong, where everyone lives in Sameness, everyone does as they are told and does as they should. It’s a place that to all of us would feel bland. But for Jonas there is so much more because he has memories of the world before Sameness.
This concept is only briefly introduced in this book. It’s a very short, very quick read. However, it was a hugely enjoyable read. The idea of this book is so amazing because it is about so many things. Individuality, community, love, art, everything. And yet, it’s pretty simple and its very easy to engage with and care about.
Jonas is such a fantastic character because we get to see him experience all these things, that we experience everyday, for the first time. He feels love, he learns about loneliness, pain, suffering, happiness. The way he feels is so amazing and really makes you connect with him. One of my favourite moments of Jonas in this book is him speaking to the baby his family is caring for:
“There could be love,” Jonas whispered. (p. 162)
The hope that Jonas carries within him for the future was so beautiful and moving to read.
There isn’t a lot of action in this book, which might not make some people happy. I found it very enjoyable though because Lowry’s writing is very good and carries across all the wonders and mystery that Jonas is experiencing and makes the book very enjoyable. The writing isn’t very complex which makes it a pretty accessible read for many age groups and would be appropriate for young teens to adults.
I highly recommend this book, and this entire series I hope, to anyone. It’s not high action in the way that books like The Hunger Games are, but I think it doesn’t really need to be. The pacing of this book, and the emotional depth really make the book the masterpiece that it is. I didn’t give it a perfect score, mostly because the ending is so vague and only makes me annoyed that I don’t have the next book yet, but it really is such an amazing book. I’m really happy that I’ve read it, and I encourage you to grab this book now if you haven’t already read it.