BOOK Keeper”. Society has been kept free of

BOOK REVIEW

    THE
GIVER

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LIOS LOWRY

The Giver is a morally driven and interesting
story about a young boy called Jonas who lives in a society free of crime and
sadness. At the age of 12, children are assigned their jobs, which they will
train for and do for the rest of their lives. Everything is chosen; from your
parents to your partner. Jonas stands apart from the community when he is
chosen to become the new “Memory Keeper”. Society has been kept free
of all the negative aspects of life because for as long as it has been formed,
there has been someone who holds all the bad and good memories of the past
within them. This is both bad and good for the inhabitants because, although
they are protected from harm, they are also not exposed to the wonderful aspects
of life.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book because, even
though it is supposed to be more of a children’s book than young adult, the
storyline is complex enough to hold the attention of older readers. I really
enjoyed Jonas as a character because his character development from a scared
boy, to someone willing to risk his future to save the community, is enjoyable
to follow. This book shows the path of growing up; at first we are scared to
accept that there are new responsibilities, but as we slowly get used to it we
want to move more and more away from childhood.

Throughout the book, Jonas’ loss of trust in
his parents is also important in communicating the morals of the story. At the
beginning, when Jonas is a normal child in the community, he trusts his parents
completely as is expected. However, after The Giver shows Jonas the tape of his
Father “releasing” a new born child, a process in which the child is
killed and disposed of, Jonas ultimately loses his trust and admiration of his
father. This moment is what forces Jonas to leave the community, even before
The Giver has planned for him to. I enjoyed this transition in Jonas because he
begins to defy the life which is set out for him. It is symbolic of the change
from the innocent mind of a child into the questioning and educated mind of an
adult.

The ambiguity of the ending is also another
aspect which makes this book interesting to read. There are two possible
meanings behind the ending; either Jonas and Gabriel freeze to death together
on the sled, or they have really found “Elsewhere”. Ultimately, the
ending still shows us that, whatever happens, Jonas has made choices for
himself rather than being told what to do. Whatever happens to him, it is still
better than his life in the community would ever have been.

The community is a metaphor for restriction
and censoring; it limits the choices of an individual until they have none
left, removing joy from life. By leaving the community Jonas has already made
an individual choice, and this demonstrates to the reader that it is better to
live your life the way you would like to, than be held back by others and never
really be happy. I think this is an important message for children and young
adults today, as experiences such as bullying in schools limit people from
being themselves.

This book was easily read in a couple of hours because of its simple but
gripping storyline and its interesting characters. The Giver was so powerful
because it’s one of a rare few young adult books which leaves the ending up to
you. The ending of The Giver is powerful because we have a choice in what it
means; just as Jonas made a sacrificial choice for the good of the community,
you have to decide for yourself too.