Book Review – The Giver

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Book Review – The Giver

Category : Book Review

Author: Lois Lowry

Year: 1993

I can’t believe I’ve reviewed The Giver movie but not The Giver book; a shame.  But it’s never too late, and as many times as I’ve read this book, it changes with every read, so there’s no bad time to write down a take on this ever-changing novel.  Lois Lowry is best known for The Giver and Number the Stars, both really important reads for young minds, but they are no less impactful to me now as an adult, since the meanings change each time, based on your own experiences.

A boy named Jonas lives in a perfect society; no hunger, no pain, no want, no worry, everything is in perfect balance, and that’s the way it’s always been.  As his 12th year approaches, and with it a selection of the job he will have as an adult, he becomes apprehensive, but he’s sure that the committee & the elders know what’s best.  When Jonas is skipped over at the selection ceremony, he’s positive he did something wrong, but it’s the opposite; he’s been selected as the next Receiver of Memory, a highly-respected role he knows almost nothing about, and will be trained for by the former Receiver, an old, sad, wise man who will from now on be known as the Giver.

What a book, and what a story, one that morphs over time, as you age and look at the world differently.  This dystopian future is a curiosity, a mix of excellent and terrible, with rules & order that keep everyone safe, but without the vibrancies that make life worth living.  Jonas is learning to adapt to the changes he experiences as the Receiver, when he learns that Earth wasn’t always the way he knows it, with climate control and Sameness.  It’s a wonderful thing to talk about aloud, to ponder over the possibilities, and to change your opinion of as your own experience change you.  This time, I read it out loud to my daughter, and what an incredible time we had, delving deep and pulling apart the metaphors like they were made for us to dissect.  A wonderful, exciting, fascinated book; one of the very best.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★