Monday, July 21, 2014
I have to say that I found it hard to put this book down once I started reading it. Written in 1993, it is a dystopian novel about a world of Sameness. Jonas, the main character is an 11 year old boy who lives in a society where sameness is valued and everyone is supposed to be content with their lot. Each family unit has been thoughtfully put together. Arranged marriages between a man and a woman are the norm. If they choose to have a child they must petition for one and after careful consideration they are given one boy and one girl. Once the children are adults, the parents are sent to live with the child less adults. When they are old, they go to live with the older adults until they are released. And here is where the reader begins to see that eugenics plays a large part in this society.
At 12 years old the children are Chosen for their future jobs in the society. Jonas is chosen to replace The Receiver. The Receiver holds all the memories from history so that these memories do not "disturb" the larger population. As Jonas begins to receive the memories from The Giver, he thinks that people should have choices in their lives and he begins to question his whole world view. I will warn you that the ending is ambiguous as the writer hopes each person will formulate their own ending. If you are like me, that is not good enough. I had to google the ending and found some answers in other reviews of this book.
This book gives the reader much to think about and I like those kinds of books. The only problem I have with this book is that I think it is not really age appropriate for sixth graders who are the target audience. I know if I had a sixth grader who was reading this book, I would want to read it with them and discuss the plotline. The Giver can be very disturbing to those who are sensitive.
After reading the book, I plan to see the movie which will be released in August. Let's just hope Released in movie talk does not mean the same thing as it does in The Giver parlance.