Sera's Reviews > The Giver

The Giver by Lois Lowry
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's review
Jan 10, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction, series, own

** spoiler alert ** *THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS CONTAINED IN THIS REVIEW, NOT ONLY ABOUT The Giver, BUT ALSO The Road and Veronika Decides to Die*

When I started this book, and through most of it, I had viewed it as a 5-star read. However, I couldn't give it 5 stars after I finished it, because of the open-ended ending. Since I read the book, I've learned that there are two are more books in this trilogy so I am hoping for some closure once I get around to reading the other two. At least The Road gave a sign of hope at the end, which I appreciated, but The Giver "gives" nothing - not a clue, not a possibility of might happen after Jonas escapes, nothing.

The Road takes the reader through what life is like for the survivors of a horrible world war, which is a grim and horrific experience; whereas, The Giver is set in the future, but this future represents the evolution of a society that seeks sameness in its inhabitants. On its surface, the concept seems to be working well. No one is hungry, everyone has his or her place and work to do in society, and pretty much everyone is on an even playing field when it comes to day-to-day living. But the reader soon discovers that although the lives of these people are peaceful and productive, the lives of those who aren't or who no longer fit in, are killed. Jonas' daddy is a baby killer who fails to share this information with his family, even though every night at dinner, the family shares their "feelings". This contradiction in behavior clearly indicates the superficiality of the lives of the people in this society and the fact that there is no sharing of real experiences. Sameness must be preserved at all costs.

The giver's role in the novel supports this point. His job is transfer memories that no one else in the community has to Jonas. Although many of the memories are joyous, some of course are filled with great pain. Pain that the receiver must deal with alone, because if released, the community will crumble. No one else can handle these memories, except for the chosen ones, like Jonas. Thus, the society is governed by a lack of reality as to what life is about to preserve the structure and ideals of what it believes life should be instead of what it is, which ends up ensuring that each individual has the same perspective.

I thought of When Veronika Decides to Die often when reading this book. In Veronika, normalcy is equated to sameness, and those who can't fit in are labeled as crazy and subsequently institutionalized. Interestingly, many of these "crazy" people thrive in the institution, because they can be themselves. They're crazy, right? Some of those people don't want to return to society, because the roteness of everyday life is depressing and they have to act the same as everyone else to be considered "normal". One of Coelho's points is that human individuality is stifled in such a environment when such people are removed from society and set aside. In my opinion, this concept parallels that in The Giver, where these type of people are killed instead of isolated from the others.

Overall, all three books are excellent reads, and I would recommend that anyone who reads one, read the other two, and see what type of parallels or other connections he or she can find among the three to compare and contrast the worlds in which the characters have found themselves.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Meghan So what do you think?

Sera I've finished the book and will be writing up my review shortly. I didn't like the ending (surprise, surprise), but I just discovered that it's a trilogy so maybe that's why. It would have been 5 stars but for the ending :)

Meghan Yeah, the ending is so open-ended. I think that was the orignal intent--does he make it or not? I've heard that's why they teach this in so many schools.

But the Messenger should help wrap things up. It would be interesting to know if she decided to wrap up the loose ends with this story or if she always planned it that way.

Looking forward to your review!

Sera Here it is, but there are some spoilers to some other books, too, so you may want to skip it. I won't be offended :)

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