In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community’s Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1994 Newbery Medal winner, Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price.
The Giver is set in a future society which is at first presented as a utopia and gradually appears more and more dystopic, so could therefore be considered anti-utopian. The novel follows a boy named Jonas through the twelfth year of his life. Jonas’ society has eliminated pain and strife by converting to “Sameness”, a plan which has also eradicated emotional depth from their lives. Jonas is selected to inherit the position of “Receiver of Memory,” the person who stores all the memories of the time before Sameness, in case they are ever needed to aid in decisions that others lack the experience to make. As Jonas receives the memories from his predecessor—the “Giver”—he discovers how shallow his community’s life has become.
I never had to read this book in school. I wish I had. It is easy to see why it’s studied in schools and why it’s considered a classic. There is so much to discuss.
This is not the type of book you can review, it’s the type you need to discuss in detail. This was a quick read, but is best taken slowly so you can absorb everything that is going on.
I loved how Jonas is a unique child in a world of Sameness. Everything seems normal at first glance, but as Jonas slowly receives memories, you learn that his world is devoid of so much that we take for granted.
This is an amazing book that a review cannot do justice for. I might need to visit a high school just so I can take part in discussion about it.
Challenges read for:none