From Laurel-Leaf: Jonas”s world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. When Jonas turns 12 he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.
In a world where sameness is valued and difference is reprimanded, twelve-year-old Jonas suddenly finds himself singled out. He is chosen to become the Receiver, to receive all of the past’s memories from the Giver. It is an honored position where he will experience great pleasure and also great pain. But as he trains, Jonas begins to see that his black-and-white world is lacking and isn’t as perfect as everyone thinks.
It is easy to see where other dystopian books have drawn from this world of order in Lois Lowry’s The Giver (Laurel-Leaf). It is a well established world with clear rules and processes that are organically introduced to the reader. Elegantly simplistic yet creative, The Giver is Brave New World meets Pleasantville. A bit abstract and philosophical, this book raises questions about humanity and the desire for control. It is interesting to see a world so regimented that even colour has been erased from the human memory in order to abolish issues of race. I found the world and how Jonas came to understand the flaws of this carefully conceived system the most intriguing part of this book.
That said, so much of the book is spent establishing the world; I would argue too much. I found the pace of this book quite slow and lacking in action. It wasn’t until the last forty pages or so that the pace picks up.
I don’t really see why this is considered a teen book; it would be perfectly acceptable for the 9-12 age group. Also, the ending confused me… I’m still not sure whether it was meant to be taken as real or not.
The Giver is a great place to spark discussion and an excellent introduction to dystopian literature, but given the wealth of dystopian books now on shelves, such as the action-packed The Hunger Games, it pales in comparison.
♥ ♥ (2/5 hearts)