Stephen's Reviews > The Giver

The Giver by Lois Lowry
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's review
Nov 06, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: literature, books-read-in-2011, teen-reads
Read from September 14 to 15, 2011

I generally have trouble with dystopian fiction and put this one off for some time.

Yet, when I started it, it was strangely compelling. In many ways it turns the genre inside out. In the the overbearing society viewed in 1984 Big Brother was everywhere and wanted to know everything. Here we have a society that wants to know nothing. In many ways this willful ignorance is even more chilling. It's certainly presented in such a way that you can't really condemn the people who keep it going. They don't know any better. Somehow that makes it even more problematic.

While I was reminded of 1984 at first, other passage had me recalling Logan's Run and even the movie Soylent Green.

I was actually surprised when the term love (the whole family at christmas scene) came up as the thing that the Giver disclosed but which the new receiver couldn't share with his family.

The concept of sameness is something that I'm now going to be considering for months and then to some degree my perceptions will never be the same.

I've sometimes considered what would make for the perfect book. Among the criteria that I've come up with are characters that I care about and an epiphany generating idea. This book has both of those criteria nailed.

It's been discussed that it's unclear whether Jonas lives or dies at the end of the book. The author says that she left this purposefully vague. Yet, we do care. While either ending could still be construed as a happy ending, we really care about the characters by this time.

And yet, either way, the people of the community get memories back, no? And the results of that would certainly make for an interesting sequal but never as interesting as this initial book was.

In addition to the complex questions I'll now be debating about the joys of diversity and the sorrows associated with freedom I'll be wondering...What does the giver mean when he says that Rosemary is his daughter? Since all births are are sort of anonymous, he might have been referring to raising her; or maybe she's just his spiritual daughter. After all, among the most precious things that we teach our children are our values, no?

If you haven't yet, you really should read this book. Simply reading it may not make you a better person, but honestly contemplating the questions it raises sure will.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I have debated much about whether I want to read this one or not. It seems like it would be too heavy but I used to like Logan's Run.

Stephen It's actually quite light hearted for the majority of the story. The sense of wrongness I felt was really just implied. That's part of what I meant when I said that the genre was sort of turned inside out.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Stephen wrote: "It's actually quite light hearted for the majority of the story.

~~~~~~~~~~Light hearted sounds good. I still can't make up my mind for now but maybe in a few weeks the fog will clear. Your review was encouraging. I have been reading about this book on goodreads for a couple of years now and wondering if I would like it.

Bill I just saw the movie, Stephen, and realy enjoyed it. I thought it like a modern day Logan's Run

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