The Giver is a facinating look at a Utopian society. Jonas's society believes choice and individuality are the root of all evil, so they simply do not allow either one. Read on to find out how Jonas learns he alone has the right to choice and perhaps a better life outside of his community.
Perhaps I'm biased, because I just read 1984 not too long ago, but this book does remind me of 1984. I wouldn't be surprised if the author got inspired by 1984, either consciously or subconsciously. But again, she might have come up with it on her own. That this and 1984 belong in the same dystopian framework is fairly apparent: the orderly society, the all-imposing bureaucracy that dictates what you do and controls how you should behave, the lack of real emotion including love, hate, anger, longing, ... (Now, if you're a Buddist follower, you'd think that the lack of those emotions is not necessarily a bad thing, but that's a totally different topic).
What is more unique about this book (and make it a good read) is the calmness and nonchalance with which society seems to carry on. Unlike 1984, here there's no outwardly sinister characters or scheme. Society appear to have been designed for everyone's own good. Thus the malevolence (if one can call is that) is very subtle, almost like the breeze (that no longer exist in a climate-control society). Gradually one comes to really how chilling life really is behind the gentle and caring facade, and I give the author kudos for being able to do that in a relatively short book.
My reservations about the book is the lack of logical coherence. For example the setting: it's set in a futuristic society, but they're just a small part of the land? Their climate is controlled, the outside is not, but there's no apparent boundary? What do people do outside, why can't they just come over and visit (and cause upheaval in this society)? This advanced society has so many technological means, and yet they can't find a boy carrying a baby on bicycle? For months? And the two of them can survive months on the road, in the open, with nothing to eat and no tool to find food? I felt like in the rush to make a "cool" ending, the author kind of rushed a bit and didn't quite think through what would make sense. Granted, I know the plot is more important than the details, but I'd still prefer it to make sense than just force things on us and ask us to accept.
Btw I've also watched the movie version. Unlike other book-to-movie projects, for this I like the movie a great deal. They've managed to adapt very well, while also attempted to address some of the book's incoherence I talked about. In an effort to make the movie more exciting and less subtle, they've made the society and the Chief Leader a lot more sinister than in the book. It's all good though, it makes for a pretty compelling movie, while many of the original themes in the book are still retained. If you've read, I'd recommend the movie too.
This is such a beautiful story -- very simple, yet very deep and thought-provoking. I was challenged and entertained, and I will keep this book as part of my permanent library!
This book was suggested by my older son's teacher. I like the writer's writting style. Great book!
Hmmm...this book reminds me of the movie "The Village." It is very interesting.
In this book the future is made up of communities with rules and governed with a watchful eye. In these communities there is no war, no crime, no heartache. There is also no love, no feelings of want, no colors. So which would be better? Our ways now or the ones in the future? This book kind of revolves around those kind of issues. For all the good that we see in this new world, there is actually bad too if you know what you're looking for. Jonas is just like any other child but he sometimes sees things that he thinks he imagines. Then the naming day comes and each kid his age gets to find out what they get to do for the rest of their lives. At Jonas's naming he was given the job of the "Receiver of Memories". Jonas learns that this fate is much harder than one realizes.
I loved the book. I loved the characters, the setting, etc. The reason there is 1 star missing is because I did not like the ending. I like endings to be all tied up with a pretty little bow. I don't like endings that do not totally end. One's that have you create your own ending by guessing. This one ends kind of up in the air. You get an idea of where it's going on but not totally sure.
I first read this book back when it was first published, and I'm happy to say that it's still a truly great book even now, when I'm quite a bit older. There's a surprisingly high amount of depth and meaning to the story, particularly given the age group it is written for, and I love it for that. My one real issue is the ending, which I knocked off a star for, because I hate it still. It's still a great reading option for younger and older readers alike though.
I first read this book when I was in middle school. I loved it then and I love it just as much after reading it 15 years later. This is a great book for both adults and children. It is an easy read but still manages to be thought provoking. I would definitely recommend.
I read this for my book club and while it held my interest and I am pretty sure I read it back in grade school, I was just so depressed at the end of the book. It was dark, full of sadness and made me feel really blue at the end. I don't think I will be reading the rest of the series.