The Giver by Lois Lowry
Published By: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: July 1st, 2014
Series: The Giver Quartet (#1)
Genres: Children’s, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Date Read: 08/09/2014
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Website
Life in the community where Jonas lives is idyllic. Designated birthmothers produce newchildren, who are assigned to appropriate family units: one male, one female, to each. Citizens are assigned their partners and their jobs. No one thinks to ask questions. Everyone obeys. The community is a world without conflict, inequality, divorce, unemployment injustice…or choice.
Everyone is the same.
At the Ceremony of Twelve, the community’s twelve-year-olds eagerly accept their predetermined Life Assignments. But Jonas is chosen for something special. He begins instruction in his life’s work with a mysterious old man known only as The Giver. Gradually Jonas learns that power lies in feelings. But when his own power is put to the test—when he must try to save someone he loves—he may not be ready. Is it too soon? Or too late?
In the story, citizens of this society are united by a “sameness” that fosters peace, cooperation and general well-being. Everyone is equal and everything is chosen for you – your spouse, your occupation, even the children you receive. When Jonas is selected to be the Receiver of Memory, his mind is opened to the dark secrets of the society he was born into.
I like the idea of it far more than I like the novel itself. I think I’m missing something. Everyone loves this book and I liked it too, but it wasn’t amazing or anything. Although I really liked the concept of this book.
There isn’t much characterisation, so I didn’t form an emotional connection with any of the characters – not even with Jonas or the Giver. Asher and Fiona are introduced in a way that you assume they will play greater roles in the book than they do. I didn’t feel like I knew any of the characters at all.
There are some interesting moral conflicts brought up. Unfortunately, there’s not enough depth to the writing to give them the airtime I would have liked. I felt the characters in this series were only plot devices. They aren’t developed, their choices often don’t make sense.
All in all, I think the lack of character writing puts this book into the same category for me as many other “classics”. I see the appeal, but I don’t care enough about the characters to really get interested.
I believe I would have liked this more if I had read it when I was younger. It needed something more. When I read this I didn’t realise it was the first book in a series, and therefore read it as a standalone, I will probably not be continuing this series.