Friday, May 9, 2014

The Giver by Lois Lowry

We don't dare to let people make choices of their own

Why I read this book

As I've mentioned several times before, when possible, I like to read the book before the movie. As the trailer for the movie has gained momentum, curiosity started to grow inside of me. I've liked other YA dystopias before so I figure why not give this one a try.

What the book is about

The book takes place in a community were "sameness" is rule. Everyone dresses pretty much the same and they behave in similar fashion too. There is no chaos, and you life is carefully planned and decided for you. At the same time, this community has neither pain, nor suffering of any kind and people are portrayed as content with the situation. At 12 your career is assigned, and it is then that our protagonist Jonas is selected as the new Receiver. What this actually means is a mystery to him, since there can only be a Receiver at a time for the community. He will finally discover what, if anything, pushed the community to be formed.

First impressions

The thing that impressed me the most, from the beginning of the story, was the dedication and importance given to people to be accurate in their usage of words. It was interesting to hear the voices of children no older than 12 years old, being extremely precise in their speech. This I actually enjoyed. The concept of loosing/gaining the concept of color was very different and I will have to agree with several critics to the movie that it is a shame this wasn't used to portray the changes happening to Jonas in the movie.

Final thoughts

I quite enjoyed the concept of the book. The importance of memories and how they might shape or destroy a whole community was very well built and to see all the responsibility of memories to fall into a single individual was quite unique too.

Although the main character is 12 years old, I don't think I would've enjoyed this book at that age, particularly as we advance in the story. There were some parts that, in my own opinion, need a bit more of "ground" to be able to stomach them and take them critically, that I did not have at that age. However, it was nice to see a protagonist this young and not the (now) typical 15/16 year old.

It has an appealing critique to what society accepts and what it frowns upon, but mostly, why is it frown upon. Would thing be really easier if we were more uniform, including our thoughts? Would the absence of pain be worth it the absence of love?

I will read at leas the next book in the quartet, Gathering Blue, to learn more of this world building. There are a lot of unanswered questions at the end of this book that I hope that will be tackled in the other three.

[...] but was considered rude to call attention to things that were unsettling or different about individuals. 

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