November 5, 2010

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Date Started:  October 30
Date Finished: November 1

Summary: Jonas lives in a world where everything is regulated. Feelings are talked through and worked out so that people don't experience them so deeply anymore. Language must be precise or one could misunderstand the meaning. Everything like jobs, mates, and children are chosen for everyone. Only the Giver and his Receiver have the memory of the times before this and the place simply known as Elsewhere. When Jonas is chosen to be the Receiver of Memory, he starts to see the dangers of a regulated world and the deep secrets that his world keeps hidden from its citizen. Jonas makes  a decision and secretly starts giving memories to Gabriel a newborn (newchild) that his family takes care of until he can sleep through the night.

Likes: This was a really well written book. It is dystopia 101. It establishes the rules of the world, breaks those rules with Jonas' character and his role as The Receiver, then it shows the "Oh sh*t" moment when the character realizes that not all is well in the world, then Jonas must decide what to do with the knowledge he receives. Even though I could pin down the story and tell you all the tropes, it was still a fantastic story. I definitely was curious to know what memories Jonas would receive. The worldbuilding is also fantastic. Isn't over done or put in as an annoying info dump. I was interested in learning what used to be and what the story is now.

Dislikes: I dislike the fact that I didn't read this as a child, because it would have been cool to read it again and see it in a new light. The cover is off-putting. I think it doesn't really appeal to children with an old bearded man on the front. It could definitely use some updated packaging because I knew I wouldn't have picked it up on my own had we not be forced to read it (see the overall section below.) And the updated packaging that I saw doesn't look much better to be honest.

Overall: Obvious it's not in my age range, but I still enjoyed it. In fact, I probably liked it more now than if I had read it in school. It's a good book and I feel that despite the horrors of the world, it is still age appropriate and not overly long or gratuitous. I'm curious to read the sequels. It definitely left itself open for being a series.

Recommended by: I had to read this for class in 6th grade or middle school, but for some reason we never got around to it. I remember having this book in my hand and opening it, reading the first page, then getting sidetracked and having to return it to the library before I got a chance to finish it.

Acquired: Library

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