By Lois Lowry
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company
Copyright © 1993
I can’t believe it has taken me so long to finally read Lois Lowry’s “The Giver”. If you like dystopian future stories then you must read this book.
Jonas is frightened. No, wait, that isn’t quite the right word; he is “apprehensive”. But what could he possibly be apprehensive about? Jonas lives in a seemingly utopian community where there is no war, poverty, joblessness, divorce, or injustice. Lives are mapped out very carefully so that everyone is happy, comfortable, and useful to the community. Everyone is kind and thoughtful. No one is rude and no one is rebelling. But Jonas is worried because he is reaching his year 12 ceremony. This is the ceremony where all twelve year olds receive their future career assignments after which they begin their training. Does Jonas receive a good job? Oh yes, the most honored job in the community. But with this honor comes the deep dark truth.
Lois Lowry is a genius. This story really seems quite simple. It starts out as if it were a coming of age story set in a future utopian society, but slowly it becomes so much more than that. She begins to pose provocative questions like: What is more important to you peace, happiness, and simplicity or choice, love, and complexity? And then, and then, she bashes you over the head with a scene so disturbing that you finally know the answer, and so does the protagonist. I was pretty sure that I knew what being “Released” referred to in this novel, but when Lowry actually showed it… oh my God!
All I can say is, If you enjoy dystopian future novels like “The City of Ember”, “The Hunger Games”, and “Divergent” then you must read their predecessor “The Giver”. I will now be moving on to the sequel “Gathering Blue”.