Hope's Reviews > The Giver

The Giver by Lois Lowry
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Feb 01, 10

bookshelves: reviewed, made-me-cry, thought-provoking, recommended-to-me, dystopian-utopian
Read in August, 2008

This book is simple.
It's not going to take you long to read but you're not going to be eating it up, either. It will hold your interest. It's not suspenseful, it's steady.
And yet, it’s so complicated.
Maybe that’s why I liked it.

This book answers the question of "what would it be like if...?" And you know what? You get a world that's "perfect".. without love, without hate, without sadness...without tears. A world with no feeling at all.
Euthanasia...but, unlike Miriam Webster's definition, it's not for reasons of mercy, or for a hopelessly sick person. (I personally think it's wrong no matter how you look at it, though).
It's just that, once you reach a certain elderly age apparently your life's not worth anything anymore.
Or if you're an identical twin; they don't want two of you.
Or if you're a premature baby... or if you're a baby who cries too much and doesn't sleep well through the night. You're not close enough to perfect, so why would they want you, little one?

How is this any worse than abortion, I ask? It's no worse, actually; it's all murder. And yet, how many people cry about an aborted baby? Compared to how many would cry over a baby murdered simply because they were too small, or cried too much at night.

How can it seem excusable when you can't see the baby...when he's still cocooned inside of his mother's womb? He ought to be safe there, but we've taken that away from him. Is he not really alive until he's born? Then why is his heart beating? How is he kicking and sucking his thumb if he's not really alive? If he's not really a baby, then why does he look like one on the ultrasound screen?

It's stuff like that, the awful stuff, that makes we who still have emotions cry.

I really, really liked this book. Not because it made me feel good, because it obviously did not. But because it made me think. It made me ask questions.
It's true that, for some reason that I just can't put my finger on, the pain of these fictional characters seemed very real. How would you feel in a world of humans that are basically unfeeling robots and you're the only one who's feeling anything?
Something that really struck me was when Jonas asked his parents if they loved him.

...They told him that love was obsolete.

And in a world where the murder of the innocents is not questioned or frowned upon, where euthanasia is a common, celebrated practice.. it's not hard to believe that love is obsolete.
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Lisa Gremore I am not sure the "elders" (I forget the term used for this group) really knew what was coming, I lean that they really thought they were headed to paradise.


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