The Giver by Lois Lowry | Rating: ★★★★☆
“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”
Revised review. It’s safe to say that The Giver has been part of many of our childhoods. Whether you read this on your own growing up or in school, it’s likely that you’ve had contact with this book for many years. It holds the standard for what most young adult dystopian novels have to live up to and has certainly inspired many with the sudden rush of emotion in an emotionless world.
I’ve seen many recent complaints over the shortness of the novel or the lack of descriptions so I feel that I need to remind everyone that this is, technically, a children’s novel. I can’t believe I have to remind everyone that this is targeted primarily at the youngest level of young adults but I guess I do. So there’s that. Are we clear now?
Right, back to the review. The Giver has aged rather well through the years and I still enjoy it even now in my early 20s, like I did growing up. It’s short. It’s got heart. It’s got something that makes it easy in lasting in pop culture. And I’m never going to say that it’s the best young adult dystopian novel, but it is popular and import for a reason.
I think it shows value in human emotion as well as uniqueness. It reminds us that while emotions can be stressful and hard to work with, they are what gives us color and allows us to stand out. We see the importance of family and friends and watch as young Jonas comes to grips with the fact that this society he lives in just isn’t right. And you hope and hope that something changes or that he can get out.
As you start the novel, you become familiar with the way their society lives. You, as a reader looking in, get a glimpse at the flaws in their plans as well as the perks beyond it. It’s told simply and gives us an understanding. Eventually, Jonas goes from like everyone else — in black and white — to something beyond that… something more like us. And it’s such a fascinating and captivating growth process.
You see him fall in love with colours and places and maybe even people. You see him begin to understand what a family bond actually feels like; what life should be like. And there’s something so special in seeing this unfold that you can’t explain it: it just makes you smile.
But you also see the bad. Jonas has lived a peaceful life and in their society, he doesn’t know of history. He learns that with the good — all the good he’s seen and felt — comes the bad. Wars, death, real pain — Jonas is thrust into this memories and it’s obvious that both he and The Giver share the very same common thought.
This isn’t right.
Bravery and love, I think, are the most important aspects of the story. Having bravery can mean many different things and I think Jonas is a perfect example of a brave kid. Especially for his age. I’m really glad we get to see him embrace the bravery and the love by stories end. I’m glad we get to see him leave this environment and ugh, I just think his story is so important.
It’s impossible to not see why this story has become a classic. And without it, I can’t see us having such an incredibly vast selection of dystopian fiction down the young adult section.
The Giver sets stage for all these stories and sometimes, you can see the parallels. Although it isn’t long, it hits all the right notes and stays painted in our memories — surely, this story will continue to last through the generations and touch as many hearts as possible.