Book Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry

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I wasn't a big reader as a child. I barely read school assignments, I tended to pass based on my ability to BS a book report. I went to a small Christian school, so the books that I did have access to were so incredibly dull. Pilgrim's Progress, anyone? No, thank you!

I think that's why I love kids books so much, I never read them as a child myself. The Giver is a book that I've heard mentioned over and over again. I started reading on a flight from Tampa to Baltimore one night around 6pm and finished the next afternoon. I would have finished sooner had there not been the need for food or sleep.

I adore dystopia novels. The Giver takes place in a small, commune-style community in an undisclosed location. We are led to believe that this is one community amongst several. Households are consist of: a mother, a father, a sister and a brother. Children are applied for and assigned to a couple, as opposed to being born into a couple. Sex does not occur. Mother and Father are more like buds than spouses. The children are brought up through levels of development which, for the most part, coincide with their age (Ones, Twos, Threes, up to Twelves).

Our protagonist is Jonas who is an Eleven, going on Twelve. Twelve being the stage in which jobs are assigned. In the Twelve ceremony, Jonas is assigned the job of "The Receiver", a position of great honor in the community. Jonas meets with the current Receiver who from this point on is referred to as "The Giver". The Giver explains that the job of The Receiver is to hold the memories of the community. Memories are transferred from the The Giver to The Receiver by touch, which brings a fantastical aspect to an otherwise plausible story. Jonas must bear the weight and pain of the history of his world, which is known only to himself and The Giver. 

I thoroughly enjoyed The Giver. It was lovely, heartwarming, and at times heart-wrenching. I could not pull myself away from this story. The ending is ambiguous which is something that I tend to find displeasing, however, I know in my heart how it ended. 

The Giver is similar in bits to The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (one of my favorites - side note, did you know that Claire Danes narrates The Handmaid's Tale for Audible --- i know, right?) and I also felt a similarity to This Perfect Day by Ira Levin. 

This is my first experience with Lois Lowry, but not my last, I will spend a bit of time on her backlist.

My favorite quote ... "Memories are forever."

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