Monday, March 16, 2009

The Giver by Lois Lowry

"’It was almost December and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.’ Thus opens this haunting novel in which a boy inherits a seemingly ideal world: a world without conflict, poverty, unemployment, divorce, injustice, or inequality. It is a time in which family values are paramount, teenage rebellion is unheard of, and even good manners are a way of life. December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve year old receives a life assignment. Jonas has been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man—the man called only The Giver—he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile perfection of his world.”

Sometimes I am surprised when I pick up a book at the library and the cover is totally different than what I was expecting. Some books have a lot of different editions or re-printings. So, for this reason I wasn’t that surprised when I picked up my copy of The Giver and it had a totally different cover than what I have previously seen if. A lot of my friends have read and recommended this book to me and as I started reading I was really surprised and started to question why they thought I would be interested in this book. You see, the book I checked out was called The Giver, but it was by an author named Lynn Hall NOT Lois Lowry. The book I had checked out by mistake was (and I only read a little ways into it) about a high school student who falls in love with her teacher. Needless to say after I got a few pages in I did a double check online and realized I had picked up the wrong book. Since then, I have been a lot more careful when ordering a book from the library!

Finally, I received the correct book and was excited to see what all the hoopla was about. I had a vague idea about what the book was about, but was still surprised with the story. The writing was exceptional; you totally get sucked into the story and of course love Jonas and The Giver. It totally makes you grateful for God’s plan, and for His gift of free agency. Although life can be hard and bad things happen it is so worth it for all the good in the world. There is far more good than bad, and freedom is so important. I won’t get on my soapbox, but I will say this book really gives you perspective.

It reminded me a bit of the movie The Village, where a few people who had suffered greatly decide the world has gone out of control and decides to set up their own community. It also reminded me a bit of the book Ella Minnow Pea. In that story the town elders have all the decision making ability and pretty much go out of control. We see this in The Giver, where they even take away color, weather, or love. They go overboard and take way all the good things as well as all the bad.

I would probably rate this a 4.5, I would have given the book a full five stars, but I was completely dissatisfied with the ending, there was no closure. I would have liked to see more of what happens with Jonas and the people of his community. I still recommend this to everyone, it’s a great quick read and totally worth it. I look forward to reading Gathering Blue and Messenger (which I’ve been told are companion books to The Gift).

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