Author: Lois Lowry
Series: The Giver Quartet #1
Source: Personal Copy
Genre: Science Fiction - Dystopia
The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and now Son, published in October 2012.
Among all these ceremonies, the Ceremony of the Twelve is the most important one as this is where every twelve-year-old child is assigned with their specific assignments based on some prolong evaluations. This assignment depicts the person that they will be and the career that they will venture in as they grow up. This is where Jonas learns about his future, where his life drastically begins to change and where he starts learning the truth – fascinating, startling, mind-boggling and bone-chilling truth – about the world that he lives in. How does he feels bearing secrets such as this? And what can he does with a knowledge this big?
What more can I say other than admitting that The Giver is definitely a masterpiece. I was more than a little sceptical upon starting this book mainly due to its small size. I let myself thinking that it is impossible for a 179 pages book to deliver much, let alone boggle a person’s mind. I was wrong – totally wrong! Lois Lowry has skilfully created this one unique world that closely resembles ours yet when examined closely is different in many ways. I truly appreciate how slowly Lowry reveals the storyline, letting readers munching every detail bit by bit, allowing them to understand this community and churn the meaning of life that they live in.
One thing that truly fascinates me is how she came out with all these perplexing rules that the community must obey and justify them with profound reasoning. For instance, children are only allowed to start wearing front-buttoned jacket at the age of seven, which is the first sign of independence. Before that age, they can only wear jackets that fastened down the back as this will encourage them to help each other dress and learn the concept of interdependence. Another aspect of the book that I found interesting yet chilling is the truth behind “Release”. At first, readers are lead to believe that those who are “Release” will be banished and sent to live outside the community. Though the actual event that happens is extremely horrifying and still brings chill down to my spine every time I think about it.
The Giver is indeed an intelligent book that is full with suspenseful mysteries and packs with unthinkable, plausible questions that will continue raking your brain even long after you finish reading. The book gives an example of how life could be like without choices, love, pleasure and hardship, left readers to wonder if life does have any purpose, any meaning without them. I was not thoroughly satisfied with the ambiguous ending at first though after reflecting back the things I have been reading, I think it was bittersweet and suits this book perfectly. In some ways, the ending reflects real life, in which we take the risk yet there is no way we can predict what will come out of it. Such a splendid piece that I think ought to be read by everyone.
Favourite Quote: The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.
The Giver is one extraordinary read that delve into readers' minds and challenge the things they believe in. My review definitely unable to do this book the justice it well deserved. I believe that those who love sci-fi, mystery and dystopian book will definitely love this one.