Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Giver - Lois Lowry

the giver
lois lowry
192 pages
c. 1993

In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community's Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1994 Newbery Medal winner, Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price.

This was really an odd book for me to read. And not because it's for young readers. Despite the fact that I'm 22, I can still quite enjoy books that are significantly below my reading level. If they are well written with an egaging story, why not appreciate a young book? Some people may not agree, and that is fine, but we are appreciating animated films as an adult society now so why not lower level reading.

I've gotten off topic.

What's odd about me reading this book is it's subject matter: gentle science fiction, utopian societies, etc. Something I generally hate. I had to read both Brave New World and 1984 in highschool, and while I could understand why they are thought of as incredible literature, I hated them. I don't like science fiction, I don't like utopian societies. Things like that just in no way interest me. So why did I read such a book? Because my girlfriend gave it to me saying it was her favorite book. Kim and I had only just begun dating and she bought it for me as a present and so of course I had to read it. Immediately. I kinda went into dork mode (not that that's in any way unusual for me), called both my sisters to see if they had read it and what they thought of it and if they thought I would like it. I felt it was very important, to my life and relationship, that I like this book.

And surprisingly enough, I did. The end I wasn't sure about, I think it was too ambiguous. I don't realloy like it when I get to decide how I think something ended. I want it spelled out for me (had I watched it I'd probably be one of those people angry with the series finale of The Sopranos), and the ending of this was left open to interpretation. But that's my only real complaint. It was well written, I thought Jonas and the Giver were both interesting characters. Everyone else was fairly flat, but then they were supposed to be considering their lifestyle.

All in all a decent read. Quick and easy and it made my girl happy that I liked it.


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