Can you imagine living in a world where everything is the same? Imagine a place where everyone celebrates their birthday on the same date and on that date they are given the same gift. No one gets to pick their husband or wife, because they are selected for them. Pills must be taken to suppress feelings, and everyone lives a life of sameness. Nothing bad gets in the way of the peacefulness. Even jobs are determined by the skills one has, and everyone is presented with their job on their twelfth birthday. Jonas is curious about what job he will be given. He doesn’t seem interested in anything enough to do it forever, but he knows at the ceremony he will find out his destiny. When he learns that he will be the Receiver of Memory his life is forever changed. He must begin training with “The Giver”, who has to pass down memories to him from the time before their world was the same in case anyone every needs that information. The process is full of images and senses that Jonas has never experienced. Some memories are beautiful and others are sad or painful. The more Jonas learns about his new position, the less he likes it and the more he has to think about. It is lonely being the Receiver of Memory and there are so many rules! Does Jonas have what it takes to be the Receiver of Memory? Will he be able to handle the pressure and memories bestowed upon him? Is it fair to make one person hold so many memories? What would you do with new memories about another type of life so different from your own? You must read this book to find out how Jonas reacts to his new position and how he deals with the world around him.
The Giver by Lois Lowry was not what I expected. The title sounds so pleasant that I thought the book would be filled with happy thoughts and memories. I thought the memories would be a gift. Lois Lowry creates a dystopian world with some familiar elements from our world that I could easily relate to, but it was different enough to capture my interest and make me want to keep on reading. I think the plot was unique, and it made me think about life and memories. As Jonas discovered more than he ever wanted to know about the world around him, I was anxiously turning the pages to find out what would happen next. Jonas is a regular boy, who doesn’t really want to grow up, and I could relate to that. Memories are so important to us because they are our connection to our friends, family, and the world around us. I can’t imagine not knowing about love, pain, sadness, excitement, and the kaleidoscope of emotions that I have felt. I can hear a song and remember something that happened last year, or smell the muddy air in spring and think back to a time three years before that had the same scent. The Giver made me think long and hard about memories and what they mean. I can’t say that I have it all figured out, but it has been thought-provoking to say the least. There are definitely some sad situations in the story, which is why I think this book would be most enjoyed by kids in fifth grade and up. The best part- I recently found out that this is just the first in a set of four books, which are loosely based on the same world. I am intrigued to learn more about this series!
Has anyone else read The Giver? Or read another book by Lois Lowry? If so, what did you think?
Happy Reading! ~L