The Giver by Lois Lowry, Kindle Edition, 2012, 204p, HarperCollins Children’s Books
Overall Enjoyment Rating: 7 Golden Stars
The Giver by Lois Lowry really gave me pause for thought. It is such a popular book, and has come highly recommended by many people. I’m not very familiar with young adult reads, besides reading The Hunger Games (simply to see what all the fuss was about).
Lowry’s world building is second to none. Her discussion of the repression of memory, and its influence on society is very interesting, and although the style is very sparse, there is room for imagination of a place where people are controlled by announcements made through a speaker. Memory is the living history of people, and by denying those who live in the community a history, there is nothing to compare actions to.
I would recommend this book to teenagers and my students without a second thought, but at the same time I do not think this book is flawless. I struggled to connect with any of the characters in the book, and the narrative was so one dimensional it at times became trying. There was little exploration of secondary characters – there was so much opportunity to create real and tangible characters in Jonas’ parents and friends, but it is missed. Or at least, to me I didn’t think the characters were excellent.
There is also the issue of the ending. It seems to be no ending, rather, the author lets the reader decide if Jonas makes it or not. I prefer things to be concrete, but that is simply my own preference.