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The Giver by Lois Lowry
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The Giver is a simple yet moving read and the start to Lois Lowry’s quartet. This book was recommended to me by a classmate after a discussion about different types of communities. The community in The Giver is a utopia where everything and everyone is the same, everything is orderly, and everyone simply obeys. Life in the Community is simple, everything is predetermined by a council, from a person’s spouse to their occupation and their time of release, their form of death by poison. The book is told in the third person with a boy named Jonas as its main character. He is a twelve-year-old boy that does not appear to be special compared to his classmates. He also lives in the Community without question. He relies on the Community to live and to continue his life without strife. It isn’t until his special Assignment of Receiver that Jonas begins to understand the world better. In The Giver the reader will experience life as Jonas does and the reader will also begin to understand that the Community isn’t as perfect as it appears to be.

Lowry’s way of writing gradually changes Jonas’s character and sews the people in Jonas’s life into the messages of the story. Each memory that Jonas receives is vividly described and it brings life into his monochrome days. It is like Jonas and the reader are discovering that life is meant to be lived and enjoyed, something that is easily overlooked, that feelings are empowering. If someone were to break up a game of catch, they must apologize with a predetermined phrase, “I apologize for breaking up our game of catch.” If the infraction were much worse, the person would be released, a kinder way of saying executed. Adolescents take medication to suppress their emotions and adults don’t know what love is because it is not a precise word. Lois Lowry’s The Giver is a great read for teenagers and young adults to experience a dull world where any extreme words, feelings, actions, or any form of disruption to the peace are unacceptable.

When Jonas begins training and learning from the Giver to be the next Receiver of Memory, he learns about different sensations, about a world outside of the Community, how to feel, and especially how to love. Throughout The Giver, Jonas learns what being alive really means. During Jonas’s training, his family unit takes in a baby named Gabriel for extra care before he is given to his family unit and Jonas learns that real value of family. With Jonas’s new role and memories he receives from the Giver, he learns how to care for others, fear the tragedy of war, and the pain of losing a loved one. It changes Jonas to where he can see colors and his emotions are augmented instead of suppressed. He understands how to think for himself and make his own decisions. He can’t stand to live in a world that doesn’t care about individuality or even humanity. With the powers of the Receiver in the Community such as being allowed to lie or access records only meant for the council, Jonas slowly learns that he must leave the Community.

It is a simple story with a powerful message, that leaves the reader hoping for more, to see Jonas succeed, and move past the Community. It reminds the reader that peace is nice but that they are also human, that not everything can be tidy, orderly, or easy.

Reviewer: Mariah

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Reading Progress

August 14, 2019 – Started Reading
August 31, 2019 – Finished Reading
September 2, 2019 – Shelved

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