Sunday, 26 July 2015

Book Review - The Giver by Lois Lowry | ★★★

Jonas lives in perfect society - nothing of the bad things we know exist in that place. The motto of it is sameness; everything is the same for everyone. Children are no longer born in families, they are made in a laboratory and breaded by birth mothers. Everybody gets one year older in December, even if you were born in another month. Every year there is a ceremony that lasts two days, where each child gets one year older and where they get their new item for the next year. One year old get assigned to a family who requested a child, new nine year old get a bicycle, twelve year old get assigned a job which they have the rest of their lives. 

When the annual ceremony approaches, Jonas is very nervous which profession he gets assigned to. And when his name is not read out loud - which has not happened in a long time - he fears he is not worth his community and will get released. But to his surprise and shock, he gets assigned to be the new receiver of memories, a position nobody knows anything about but that it is very honourable and only held by one person at a time. 

Jonas´ new trainer is the former Receiver, now called the Giver. His job is to transfer memories of the past into Jonas´ mind. The memories are of a time when sameness was not yet imposed and that the other members of the community can´t even imagine, in which there was war and hunger but also colour and emotions.
“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.” 
“For the first time, he heard something that he knew to be music. He heard people singing. Behind him, across vast distances of space and time, from the place he had left, he thought he heard music too. But perhaps, it was only an echo.”  
As time passes and Jonas has received a lot of memories and so the impression what had needed to be done - good and bad - to form the community he lives in, he starts to lose trust in the people surrounding him. Together with the Giver he hatches a plot to change the way his world works, but earlier as planned Jonas has to make a decision that could destroy everything and everyone.

The ones who keep an eye on what I am currently reading know that I finished The Giver some weeks ago. But the story is still wandering my mind and brings still a lot of questions up. So i can assure you that the story is very thought provoking. 
“I liked the feeling of love,' [Jonas] confessed. He glanced nervously at the speaker on the wall, reassuring himself that no one was listening. 'I wish we still had that,' he whispered. 'Of course,' he added quickly, 'I do understand that it wouldn't work very well. And that it's much better to be organized the way we are now. I can see that it was a dangerous way to live.'
...'Still,' he said slowly, almost to himself, 'I did like the light they made. And the warmth.” 
Lois Lowry did a great job in setting up this world. She explains enough to understand it from the beginning but lets some things rather unexplained in order to plant some wondering and surprising within the story. 

The book is a very short read and can be finished within a few hours. It´s beautifully written and, as I said above, interesting to think about. The book was recently made into a movie, I haven´t seen it yet, though. I am excited to watch the movie but also to read the other three parts of this quartet. Read the book, you most likely will enjoy it.