The past couple of books I’ve read, including The Book Thief which I’m currently reading, have all come as recommendations from other bloggers (see my new tag below “BloggerRec“). When I was in fourth grade I read Number the Stars and loved it, so I was particularly interested in reading this book. I finally picked it up last weekend (despite my book ban) and read it on our trip to Oregon–mostly in one day on the plane.
I liked this book a lot, but something is keeping me from loving it–perhaps the ending (no–I won’t give anything away). The book was a very quick read, but unlike some recent YA lit that I’ve read, the ideas were pretty complex and the writing more developed.
The Giver is the story of a young 12-year-old boy, Jonas, who is about to receive his community calling (in other words his occupation). At first the community Jonas lives in seems like a perfect one–one with little pain and great happiness, but at a closer glance it becomes apparent that the society is greatly manipulated so that everything is the same (Sameness). There are strict rules and regulations, and if these are broken, the offender will be “released” from the society.
When Jonas is given his calling, he is selected to become the “Receiver of Memory” – a role that means he will hold not only the community’s memories, but the memories of all time. Because Jonas will hold these memories, the community does not need to. For example, instead of the community having memories–whether actual or learned–of things like war, only Jonas will carry these memories–and the pain that goes along with such memories. In addition to bad memories, though, some of the good things have also gone away such as colors, music, sunshine.
During Jonas’s training to become the next Receiver of Memories, and as he learns more about how is community is compared to how it once was, he starts asking questions about whether or not Sameness is the best way to live life. Will Jonas be able to make a change in the community? The Giver is a touching story and I would recommend it. Now if I can just get my little brother to pick it up (I haven’t had any luck interesting him in any of the YA lit I’ve read recently…).