The Giver by Lois Lowry is a reread for me. I originally read it as a sophomore in high school and I was pretty neutral about it. I don't think it was the type of book I was really in the mood for and I know that I sped through it really fast (because reading only 3 chapters a night in a book this small was torture for a kid like me) and I admit that I read it a bit grudgingly. I was never that kid that hated a book because I was forced to read it. There were a few books I didn't particularly enjoy reading, but this is the only one, in all my years of schooling that I remember not liking because they made me read it.
I read the companion novels, Gathering Blue and Messenger and I simply loved them. So I figured that I must have missed something within The Giver and I decided that I would reread it sometime. But, in the meantime, I will also admit that I claimed to like The Giver as much as I had liked the other two books, but I'm admitting now, that it wasn't true. Then.
Now, however, that's all behind me and OH MY GOODNESS! I'm sitting here, staring at my 15 year old self in shock wondering why on Earth I didn't love this book. Because it is amazing. Far too amazing for the words I'm going to use to adequately describe this book.
Here is a book that makes you wonder, makes you think, makes you question. It follows a young boy, Jonah is not quite 12 when the book starts, and the whole story takes place in just over a year. We watch as Jonah is transformed from a young, naive boy into someone who has wisdom and understanding thrust upon him. Most of you reading this review have either already read The Giver or I'm sure you've heard about it from someone. So, it might be that it's impossible for me to spoil anything for you. BUT I think the way Lowry has written and crafted this story is so important, so powerful and so impactful when read 'right' that I wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone. So there is a lot I'm leaving out, a lot I'm leaving for you to discover, or rediscover, as I did, all on your own.
You learn in the beginning of the story that the world Jonah lives in is full of structure, rules, regulations, and careful, careful planning. Every detail of their lives is planned by the Elders. Everything is meticulously planned and there are no deviations from this. They are taught from a very young age how they are to live, how they are to be. And no one questions anything, because none of them know any better.
The only question I have about the story is something I can't address in a review like this, because while not, perhaps, an actual spoiler, it does contain something of the story that I think needs to be revealed to the reader, one page, one thought, one memory at a time. I wish the idea of memory had been explored a little deeper in the novel but I find the idea behind it utterly fascinating. Definitely very Jungian though. Makes you wonder. :) (Any of you know what that means? Or am I the only Psych nerd :P)
So really, what I guess I'm trying to say here is that this is a novel worth reading and it is defintiely a novel worth reading again and again. I imagine that there is much Jonas can teach me, about life and what makes it worth living and about what I'm willing to sacrifice in exchange for comfort and whether I have the right to make certain choices for later generations. It's a book to make you think, a book to make you feel and one that I can already tell is going to draw me back for a reread again and again. It is not to be missed.(less)
So, I read most of this in 9th grade English, but didn't get a lot out of it. A lot of the book was 'read' in class through an audio book format, and...moreSo, I read most of this in 9th grade English, but didn't get a lot out of it. A lot of the book was 'read' in class through an audio book format, and the man reading the book had to be the most boring speaker I have ever listened to. He droned on and on, even when reading the exciting parts of the story. Who knew that blood, death, destruction, danger, humor and wit could be do dull! It's not the book, The Odyssey itself is written beautifully. But listening to it was painful. I don't do very well with audio format under the best of circumstances, and listening to this old man go on and on in monotone was awful. I need to revisit this book, and just read it sometime soon. (less)
By the time I got around to actually reading this book, it had been sitting on my shelf for about 3 years. It was a text book for one of my Political Science classes in college. This book was used entirely for in class discussion. All of my classes that semester had a large reading load, and this one didn't seem as important to get read as the actual texts and published articles.
I read the first 3 chapters along with the class, before I prioritized (well, probably more like got lazy) and set it on the back burner. But, I enjoyed the book and the information it presented, and I've always planned to go back and read it. So, I added it to my Fill-in-the-Gaps list, and on my list for Adam's TBR Challenge, over at Roof Beam Reader.
I liked this book. A lot. The writing is mostly smooth, and the questions asked and the information presented is readable, entertaining, and interesting. Levitt is a somewhat unorthodox economist, claiming he isn't very good with numbers, and the traditional economic subjects don't interest him too much. He'd much rather decipher why drug dealers still live with their mothers if they are all supposed to be rich, or whether or not your name can really make a difference in your future careers. Dubner is a journalist who interviewed Levitt. They liked working together, and decided to collaborate on a book, detailing some of the studies and analysis they did to answer some of these questions.
I liked that the questions asked were a little unusual, but also relevant and pertinent to life. Economics can be broken down into the study of incentives, and it's interesting to note what they believe to be highly motivating. Incentives aren't always monetary. They can also be social, and moral. These incentives are often connected. Breaking apart or changing these incentives give us an added insight into human behavior, and why people do what they do. I don't know that I agree with everything they theorize about in this book, but I can say that they have done a very thorough job with their research, and it was never dull.
It's not a book for everyone, but then- I don't think much non-fiction is. But, this is a book that will make you think a little differently about the world and ask a new set of questions, even if it only happens while actually reading the book. I'm glad I finally finished this one. It was definitely worth it.
Have any of you read this book, or their blog? What do you think?(less)