The Giver by Lois Lowry
|Book Name:||The Giver|
|Formatt:||Hardcover / Paperback / Audio Book / eBook|
|Genre(s):||Science Fiction / Dystopia / YA|
I imagine that at one point in your schooling, you probably had to read The Giver for an English class. If you didn’t, I highly recommend that you run out and pick up this book. No matter your age, The Giver holds something for everyone.
Personally, for me, this is a story that takes me back to my childhood. I read The Giver for the first time when I was much younger, probably fifteen years ago or so. I loved it then, and rereading it recently left me with an intense feeling of nostalgia.
The Giver is set in a utopian future, where the world has resorted to Sameness. The people are unable to see colors, or hear music. They are given their roles in life when they turn twelve years old, and continue to have these same jobs for their entire lifetime, until they enter the House of Old.
Jonas is a young boy, nearing the time when he will complete the Ceremony of Twelve and become a full member of his community. Every day is nearly the same: His family wakes up, and has breakfast together, where they talk about their dreams. The adults, including Jonas, take their medication that prevents them from having Stirrings (because feelings like pleasure are not understood, and therefore must be turned to Sameness). Jonas goes to school, and plays with his friends when classes are over. Then he returns home to have the evening meal with his family, where they talk about their feelings during the day. After the sharing of feelings, it’s time for homework, and then bed.
The days never vary, until Jonas is chosen at the Ceremony of Twelve to become the next Receiver of Memory.
The Receiver of Memory is one of the most important roles in the community. The Receiver holds all of the memories of the time before Sameness. The time when fire was allowed in homes, grandparents lived with their families and were able to spend time with their grandchildren, and love was something one experienced; not just something that was an abstract concept.
As Jonas begins his training with the old Receiver, now called The Giver, he learns of these things. He learns about colours, and what it feels like to ride a sled in the snow, and what the warm sun feels like on your face. The Giver freely gives these memories to Jonas, so that he can understand what life was like before Sameness.
Jonas also begins to receive memories of pain. The pain of a sunburn, of a broken leg, of warfare and hunger. These memories strengthen him, and help him to realize why his role in the community is so important. Because of the Sameness, the other community members would not be able to understand, could not comprehend, the pain and terror in the memories Jonas now holds. They would not understand the feelings of love, and joy. They simply do not exist in the world where Sameness rules supreme.
Eventually, the community with Sameness is not something that Jonas, or The Giver, wants anymore. They want to change the community, to show them the way that things were before. But in a world where everything is safe and everything is the same, it is incredibly difficult to change the mind of one person, let alone that of a whole community.
Overall, I loved this book. The Giver is one of the many books from my childhood that I keep a copy of, and reread every few years. I feel that this last time I read it, I understood it better than I ever have. This book brought me to tears, and made me smile. It’s an emotional read, but one that I highly recommend to everyone.