Upon finishing this book, not 20 minutes ago, I'm left with several thoughts:
1. This book should be required reading for everyone with the emotional maturity to handle it! (I believe that blindly labeling The Giver as a children's book is neither realistic nor necessarily wise, in some instances. Parents would be well advised to thoroughly screen it before offering it to an emotionally sensitive child to read.)
2. Very few things leave me mentally stuttering as I struggle to put my thoughts into words, but, somehow, The Giver has done just that. It will take me a while to be able to make sense of, not the story, but my response to it.
3. The Giver is a deftly crafted work, both stunningly beautiful and deeply disturbing... Finding myself being imperceptibly lulled by the peace, order, safety and serenity of Jonas's world; being awakened by the sickening thud of reality's steel-toed boot in the gut, leaving both him and me breathless and disoriented in the aftermath. This story is haunting and powerful. It's a raw portrayal of the presumed moral sacrifices that man would have to make in order to create and maintain a Utopian society, and the acceptable naivety of the horrors that would accompany it.
Perhaps what is most frightening to me is the way I so easily assumed, at first, that Jonas saw the world as I do.. that the words were being used in the way I understood them. The realization that his newly deposited knowledge gives him is almost terrifying, definitely unnerving. The depth of my emotional response still has me reeling!
4. This is NOT a happy-ending, feel-good read... although I suppose it could be for those who read books without truly experiencing them, but I don't know how to do that, so for me it was a painful experience. I'm glad I read it, as it's made me think about things in a way I wouldn't have otherwise, and I appreciate that. I don't know that I would have read it had I known how real Jonas's and the Giver's pain would be to me.