On The Cover: Jonas’s world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.
Why I Chose It: I read this years ago when I was pretty young, and while I remember enjoying it, I couldn’t remember why.
This review contains spoilers.
This is such an interesting book to read and I think it’s one of those books I can read again and again and still enjoy. I really love how Lowry slowly reveals the world that she has created. At the beginning it seems very similar to our own. Children going to school, riding bikes, eating dinner with their parents. It all seems very normal. Yet the further you read, the more you notice that something is slightly off, and you start to see the differences. The slow reveal feels really powerful in this book, because it gives me a sense of security at the beginning, then slowly pulls that away as things start to feel more and more wrong. It’s one of my favourite books that feature the slow reveal, especially because it’s not obvious what the deeper issues are. The world is not predictable and remains a mystery almost to the end.
At the beginning of the novel Jonas is very content with his life and the way things are done, and he really has no reason to doubt the world around him. Yet bit by bit he finds faults with his community’s way of life. I really appreciate how as a reader I can observe Jonas’ growth, because as Jonas learns about the world, I am learning as well. He’s also a very smart main character in that when he learns a piece of information, he then applies that knowledge to the world around him and analyses it. He is actively thinking and assessing, and to me he is a very rich character because he isn’t passive and he doesn’t need to be told what it all means. He’s a critical thinker and I think that’s part of what makes this book so good.
Finally, something that really intrigues me about this book is the ending. There isn’t one. Generally speaking, when a book doesn’t come to a conclusion and tie up its loose ends it drives me nuts. But in this case I love it. The story is about this community, and so as Jonas leaves it, we no longer have a view of the community. Plus the title is The Giver, and Jonas has left the Giver’s presence, leaves his own destiny of becoming the next Giver, and so has opened the door to any possibility. I just love that the ending is SO open, that Jonas is traveling Elsewhere, and that almost anything can happen. I find it enriching to the imagination and it left me feeling not frustrated, but thoughtful.
Obviously I really like this book. I would say definitely give it a try, because I think this is one of those books that can appeal to a huge range of ages and reading tastes. I’m really looking forward to reading more of the series and Lowry’s other works, because I can only hope for more intriguing stories.
Rating: 5 / 5
“But the most conspicuous difference was the books. In his own dwelling, there were the necessary reference volumes that each household contained: a dictionary, and the thick community volume which contained descriptions of every office, factory, building and committee. And the Book of Rules, of course.
The books in his own dwelling were the only books that Jonas had ever seen. He had never known that other books existed.
But this room’s walls were completely covered by bookcases, filled, which reached to the ceiling. There must have been hundreds – perhaps thousands – of books, their titles embossed in shiny letters.” (Lowry, 1993. OverDrive)
“It’s a very distant memory. That’s why it was so exhausting – I had to tug it forward from many generations back. It was given to me when I was a new Receiver, and the previous Receiver had to pull it through a long time period, too.” (Lowry, 1993. OverDrive)
” ‘But what happened to those things? Snow, and the rest of it?’
‘Climate Control. Snow made growing food difficult, limited the agricultural periods. And unpredictable weather made transportation almost impossible at times. It wasn’t a practical thing, so it became obsolete when we went to Sameness.’ ” (Lowry, 1993. OverDrive)