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909 out of 941 people (96%) think this is worth consuming…


The Giver (Readers Circle (Laurel-Leaf))
by Lois Lowry
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7 entries have been written about this.

How this changed my life — 4 years ago

WORTH CONSUMING!

I read this at a young age but it only opened me up to a whole new world of reading possibilites. My next few books read were Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, and Animal Farm. It wakes you up, it makes you think outsdie of the box. This is a great beginner book. I remember thinking when i started the book, what a wonderful world and how things must be better etc etc but as you read more you realise with the character things are always what they seems and sometimes advancement means loosing the most basic things that makes us individuals. Truely a good book.

Absolutely great! — 5 years ago

WORTH CONSUMING!

This was a really great book! It reminded me a lot of a book I read in school called The Chrysalids. It has a very interesting concept, and I was hooked from the start. I couldn’t put it down because all I wanted was to find out why the community in the book worked the way it does.

Fast fluent fiction read tackling the paradox of choice at society scale — 5 years ago

WORTH CONSUMING!

As another reviewer said, The Giver can be thought of as an 1984 aimed at a young adult audience. But there’s more to the book: it combines themes discussed extensively in other more complex works, in an accessible and fluent manner, suitable for a 12-year old.

Collectivism

The Giver describes a society of genetically-modified individuals, built around “Sameness”, where everyone has a role (in work and in family – a job and a spouse) established for life by a committee, and where freedom of choice is reduced to trivial matters. Ayn Rand expands on this theme in the dystopian Anthem, but The Giver posits a more balanced stance:

We don’t dare to let people make choices of their own.”

“Not safe?” The Giver suggested.

“Definitely not safe,” Jonas said with certainty. “What if they were allowed to choose their own mate? And chose wrong?

“Or what if,” he went on, almost laughing at the absurdity, “they chose their own jobs?”

“Frightening, isn’t it?” The Giver said.

Jonas chuckled. “Very frightening. I can’t even imagine it. We really have to protect people from wrong choices.”

“It’s safer.”

“Yes,” Jonas agreed. “Much safer.”

Besides solving the paradox of choice, a utopian choice-free society apparently deals away with many of the problems that our society faces by letting individuals choose their jobs and mates (job satisfaction and divorce rates are both around 50% in the US). This probably explains why some think that the book glorifies communism.

However, the very next sentence from the paragraph above negates that impression:

But when the conversation turned to other things, Jonas was left, still, with a feeling of frustration that he didn’t understand. (98-99)

Inconceivability

After the main character, Jonas, gains the ability to see beyond the sheltered and fabricated lifestyle of the society, he attempts to explain the reality of his newly found awareness to his friends, without success. They simply cannot conceive any other perceptions than their own. This theme (inconceivability) is given exquisite treatment in Edwin Abbott’s Flatland.

Peculiar elements of style in the book

  • only when Jonas becomes able to perceive “red”, does the reader realize that colors were not used at all in any depictions in the book.
  • Jonas’s parents do not have names. Their (assigned) children address them by role: Mother and Father.

Shortcomings

  • there is a bit too much requirement for suspension of disbelief when it comes to the mechanics of memories: memories appear to have an existence somewhat independent of human minds: when a carrier of memories dies or physically goes too far from the community, the community receives all their memories.
  • technology is unevenly developed: there are fighter and reconnaissance planes, and extremely effective pain relief medication, yet despite the fact that computers exist (Jonas mentions them at some point), they apparently are not used to store any memories instead of the thousands of books which are in the sole possession of the Receiver of Memories
  • as mentioned in Wikipedia, there are 50 children born each year to Birthmothers, only one of twins are allowed to survive, and Birthmothers only give birth for 3 years, after which they are assigned to perform physical labor. That means that every 3 years, 50 new Birthmothers are required, or that 34% of the population is a Birthmother. Yet Birthmother is a profession with “very little honor”.

My rating: 85%.

A story about this — 6 years ago

WORTH CONSUMING!

One of the best books I’ve read so far. I read this back in high school (early 90s) when a missionary friend lent it to me before she left for the US and more than 10 years since then I can still remember most of the story. The simplicity of the story makes it so believable. I don’t know what it really is about the Giver but there is just something special about it. Till now, just thinking of the story makes me want to read it again. I guess I’ll buy a copy and do that.

A story about this — 8 years ago

WORTH CONSUMING!

Had to read it for school, and I loved it!

Why I recommend this — 8 years ago

WORTH CONSUMING!

I read an article in Reason about some trends in Young Adult literature and had to check out this book. I’m a sucker for anti-government themes and this book presents one that even kids can appreciate I think. It’s almost like a 1984 for younger kids. A very disturbing story. I loved it.

How this changed my life — 8 years ago

WORTH CONSUMING!

This may be the best (YA) novel I have ever read! It is such an amazing story with details and action you won’t believe. This book made me think about my family, my home, and the world around me in a way I could never imagine.

Jonah is a “Twelve” who is has just been assigned his life job. He has grown up watching his mother, a judicial worker, anda his father, a nurturer, go off to their jobs. He has done volunteer work since he was an “eight”, but nothing prepares him for his assignment.

Everytime you think you have learned everything about the community, you learn something else.


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