The Giver by Lois Lowry
Published Houghton Mifflin Books 1993
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia
Format: Hardback from the library
Jonas’ world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.
To be totally honest, I really don’t know what to think of this book. For many people, it is the ultimate classic and example of what a dystopian novel should really be. And I truly understand that. I just don’t think it lived up to the hype for me.
My main problem was that the book was short at only 225 or so pages. There are very little books nowadays that are published saying too little. However, it felt like the story was shoved into such a small space. This didn’t really allow for the character development of Jonas or The Giver. The secondary characters were also just thrown aside for the most part. It really could have been improved if I related to Jonas, but I really did not care. The writing style was also very detached from the characters. The book was written in third person, but it felt so different because the way it was written.
The story idea was also good, but it was not expanded upon enough. I had no idea a year had passed until the end of the book when they mentioned Jonas’ ceremony of the thirteen, which really threw me. I thought, until that point, the book was within a month. There are not many descriptions of time passing. I also wanted to know more about the memories that were being given to Jonas. The ending felt strange too, like it didn’t totally belong in the book. It just appeared at the end randomly and I could not figure out why they were doing this. That scene came in a rush as did most of the book.
Overall, I understand that this book is influential and defintely very good, but I just wasn’t sure about the execution and description given to the topic.