Title: The Giver
Author: Lois Lowry
Published By: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: 1994
Length: 180 Pages
A few weeks ago I was bored out of my mind. I wasn’t up to watching television and had all of my necessary work completed for Stogie Review. As I annoyed my wife by pacing around the living room, she suggested that I grab a book off of our book shelf and do some reading.
I love to read but rarely have enough free time to complete a book in a decent amount of time. This time, however, I had an open weekend in front of me and thought it was as good a time as any to dive into a book. I headed to the bookshelf and began looking for something fairly short.
I eventually came across a book entitled The Giver and wasn’t sure where it came from. According to my wife, it was required reading material for her in high school. She remembered it being an interesting read which was fairly short. I grabbed the book from the shelf, put on a pot of tea, and selected a cigar. A few minutes later I was immersed in the book.
Right from the start this book hit me as being strange. The main character, Jonas, is a twelve year old boy living in a perfect society. From the age of twelve, each member of the community is given a specific role and is expected to carry it out. Adults are assigned a mate as well as children and are expected to live their lives in perfect order.
The author focuses on a time in the life of Jonas where he goes through a transition. On his twelfth birth year he is assigned a role in the community and begins the transition to adult. He is assigned the unique role of “Receiver”, which has not been assigned in a number of years. This causes concern for him and excitement for the community.
Jonas’ new role in the community is to train as a receiver and eventually replace the current occupant. As Jonas trains with the old receiver, his life as he knows it is torn apart. This unique role gives him access to information that the community keeps quiet, it eventually changes the way he views his parents, sibling, and closest friends.
As the book progresses, Jonas and the current receiver plot to make the community right and give back the freedom of choice to the people. A series of events take place which shock the community and create a bit of a lack-luster ending to the story.
After two cigars, a couple of cups of tea, and about three and a half hours, I completed the book in one sitting. The ending left the mind free to guess at how society has changed as a result of Jonas’ actions, as well as make you think about the current state of the world.
The book is entertaining enough to keep your attention, but expect to stop at some points and shake your head is disbelief. The intention of the book is to make a young reader think about the way society functions and even call some things into question.
I did a little research after reading this book and it appears as though it has made a few banned books lists. It also seems that many of Lowry’s books have a similar storyline, although admittedly I haven’t read any. It seems as though if you have enjoyed a Lois Lowry book in the past, you may enjoy this one as well.