Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Giver

I'm going to live - but my two night hangover is pretty bad.

I'll put that aside because I wanted to talk about a book I read on Friday called The Giver by Lois Lowry. It's a children's book about a protagonist named Jonas, who lives in a seemingly utopian society free of war and suffering. It was published in 1993 but is still extremely popular, both with children and adults, and is on the curriculum in many schools.

The book had passed me by until a few months ago, where I'd seen it mentioned on several recommended science fiction lists. As soon as I opened it I was glued to the pages. I doubt I would have been able to leave the house until I'd read the entire book. Jonas' society is so seductive; there is no physical and emotional pain, no crime and no hunger. As you move through the story however, you realise that the community has sacrificed many things to maintain a 'sameness', and a more dystopic society is revealed.

As a children's book, the story is very accessible and succinctly told. But I was surprised at how emotionally involved I became while reading the novel. I was desperate to find out what happened to Jonas right until the end, and when I finished it I was a little weepy. I didn't find a depressing book; it was more of a release as the story is so emotive and uplifting in parts. Highly recommended.


Beccy said...

Never heard of it, I'll have to check it out.

Macoosh said...

i LOVE this book. is it really only as old as 1993? i thought it was older. i read it about 10 years ago. fantastic. i might need to read it again actually..

Anna said...

Thanks SOOO much for the tip! I'm definitely going to check it out. What is the age group it is aimed at?

hellojed said...

Hi anna, it's aged 12-14, some reckon it's age 8 and up but there are some scenes that may be upsetting to young children.

Mai said...

Hi. I finally read this book this year as well. I'd heard over and over how good it was, but I'd never read it. I loved it. Lowrey wrote two additional books: Gathering Blue and Messenger. These 'finish' the story. I liked Gathering Blue quite a bit, but I for me Messenger fell a bit flat and felt forced. If you read these, the ambiguity of the end of The Giver goes away. I think that is a terrible loss.