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Woah, I can easily understand why such a grand amount of people loved this book and definitely see why many were not satisfied with the movie. I cannot believe how many elements of this story they changed. However, there is something that I must admit: I preferred the movie because of how melancholic and hopeful it made me feel and for the suspense inside it that the book irrevocably lacked. It is not something that I hear myself say often at all. I have always been that little full of criticism girl who could not help but compare books to movies and movies to books. Quite a negative experience I tend to have with the latter. I mean, Red Riding Hood (trailer), starring Amanda Seyfried, was enticing! Reading the filmtonovel adaptation though felt like walking through mud – tiring, boring, and endless. Why I granted it a three star rating is beyond me.
Let’s just put that aside though. After all, it is of The Giver that I shall talk about and my time spent reading the story was definitely not wasted – hence the four star rating – even if not what I anticipated. First, the hero was very young, a detail that I seemed to have forgotten before starting this read. Not a problem though, for Jonas showed an impressive and admirable maturity in his character. Even I, at twelve, and others around me at that time, were not as reflective, wise and…intelligent. Sure, math held no secrets from me, but I was not actually resolving problems for the greater good or aware of the true face of the world. As opposite as the situation and context definitely were, the fact remains that Jonas lead this story with greatness and, along the way, opened my eyes to some beautiful themes.
It shook me to witness how unimportant Fiona appeared and how no chemistry was palpable between Jonas and her. Apparently, they were friends through Ashen mostly, or at least that is what I deducted. Of course, they volunteered together but it is not as if they talked and shared moments like true friends normally do. Plus, we could barely see her because of how her presence was omitted. Ashen was definitely endearing in this while, in the cinematographic adaptation – I apologies for bringing it up again – I growled at him continuously.
This was another example of a book with fine simplistic writing. My first one, I believe, was Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Then I discovered some others and familiarized myself with this type of writing. I am completely in favour of it since it can bring such a peaceful atmosphere to stories and make the reader easily understand every detail written. However, there is something that I unluckily often stumble upon when this style is present and this was no exception: repetition. But maybe it is easier to distinguish it since everything in the writing is clearer?
Even though I brought up an equal – or so it seems – amount of positive and negative elements for The Giver, I must let you know that the negative ones never bothered, annoyed or frustrated me. They were there, and I was aware of them, but never let any of those weaknesses keep me from enjoying my read. Because I did. So much.
PS. For a couple of minutes, I thought that I just read one of the first dystopian books ever written, but this list proved me the contrary.
I think I'm missing something. Everyone loves this book and I liked it too, but it wasn't amazing or anything.
The Giver felt like a very sparse story to me. First, there isn't much characterization, so I didn't form an emotional connection with any of the charactersnot even with Jonas or the Giver (two central characters). Asher and Fiona (particularly Fiona) are introduced such that you assume they will play greater roles in the book than they do. I don't feel like I knew Mom or Dad or Lily at all. While the lack of an emotional bond with these lesser characters may be due to the nature of their community, Jonas and the Giver should really be more sympathetic, in my opinion.
Second, the description of the community itself is sparse. There is so much more that could've been described about this "utopian" community. I feel like Jonas' selection, his revelation about Release, and his eventual choice could've been built up and framed better. I feel like I got the quick campfire version.
Finally, while I appreciate it's overall message about the importance of individual differences, human emotion, etc., I felt like the book was a bit heavyhanded with its moral. Jonas' initial support of his community and gradual change of heart seems intended to present both viewpoints, but doesn't succeed in my opinion. The book's agenda was clear to me from the beginning. It also doesn't present alternative possibilities (such as a world without Sameness but also without war, a world without Release but also without starvation, etc.)the choice is either here (with Sameness and no color) or Elsewhere (with pain and suffering).
When teaching the book, I also felt it was very important for students to understand how this heavyhanded moral (that most of us would agree with somewhat) demonstrates Lowry's (and our own) privilege. That is, the reason it's easy for us to say that Jonas' community is horrible is because of our own relatively privileged lives. If we lived in Darfur, were extremely impoverished, lived in a country where women were treated as property, etc., we may make a very different choice about Jonas' life.
Despite all of this, believe it or not, I did like The Giver. It's an enjoyable read. It had a great plot, the community was interesting, and the ending was fantastic and JUST a little ambiguouscool! The Giver FilmAlloCin The Giver Est Un Film Ralis Par Phillip Noyce Avec Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep Synopsis Dans Un Futur Lointain, Les Motions Ont T Radiques En Supprimant Toute Trace D HistoireThe Giver WikipdiaThe GiverJeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, BrentonWithin This Strictly Structured Society The Existence Of The Giver Seems Incongruous, But Is Deemed Vital To The Survival Of Society Since The Person In This Position Is The Source Of Past Memories And Wisdom The Narrative Focuses On Ayear Old Boy Who Has Been Chosen To Take Over This Position And The Consequences To Him And His Community Of Being Exposed To Past Memories And Feelings Brenton Trailer Du Film The Giver The Giver Bande Annonce VFRegardez La Bande Annonce Du Film The Giver The Giver Bande Annonce VF The Giver, Un Film De Phillip NoyceThe Giver Lowry, Lois Livres The Giver Est Un Livre Adapt Et Conseill De Jeunes Lecteurs, Mais Ce Serait Une Grossire Erreur De Le Cantonner Un Certain Type De Lecteur Il Comblera Tous Ceux Qui Aiment Lire, Par Ses Aspects Humains, Philosophiques, Fantastiques, Magiques Presque Quoique Cet Le Passeur Wikipdia Jeff Bridges 4.5 HOLY STARS!
I don't remember reading a book as fast as I read this one.It was a great read.I couldn't put the book down for hours.And I must say is different from other books that I have read so this review actually is going to be somehow different from others.So let's start.
I enjoyed the beginning , maybe because it looked like dystopian kind of book and as you may know I love dystopian books.Also the colorless nature and emotionless were things that made me to continue read the book.This is one of those books that keeps getting interesting page by page.
What I really enjoyed from this book , the reason why I gave it 4.5 stars is because there were some moments described so beautifully and full of energy and life.Somehow they made me think about life and all things that it has , the nice , the cruel , the dreams , the goals , the feels , everything and how beautiful it is.I'm not this emotional but I must say that they were some sentences that are worth reading over and over again.This book also shows how life would be without colors, emotions, without the fun of it.It sucks!
Okay..So let's move to the story
This book is about a boy called Jonas who lives in a world full of order and rules.He has two bestfriends, one of them is this girl called Fiona.At the ceremony he is chosen to be the reciever of memories and from that moment his life changes...
I liked this characters because I can relate to him somehow.He is smart,caring and most important curious about things.And that curiosity leads him to the impossible known.
What I really liked about Fiona is her rebel side.She breaks the rules almost every time but on the other side she is caring and fights for people she loves.
Me while reading the book(favorite sentences) :
“For the first time, he heard something that he knew to be music. He heard people singing. Behind him, across vast distances of space and time, from the place he had left, he thought he heard music too. But perhaps, it was only an echo.”
“I liked the feeling of love,' [Jonas] confessed. He glanced nervously at the speaker on the wall, reassuring himself that no one was listening. 'I wish we still had that,' he whispered.
“Of course they needed to care. It was the meaning of everything.”
“...now he saw the familiar wide river beside the path differently. He saw all of the light and color and history it contained and carried in its slowmoving water; and he knew that there was an Elsewhere from which it came, and an Elsewhere to which it was going”
“Even trained for years as they all had been in precision of language, what words could you use which would give another the experience of sunshine?”
“Things could change, Gabe," Jonas went on. "Things could be different. I don't know how, but there must be some way for things to be different. There could be colors. And grandparents," he added, staring through the dimness toward the ceiling of his sleepingroom. "And everybody would have the memories."
“And here in this room, I reexperience the memories again and again it is how wisdom comes and how we shape our future.”
“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”
It's so worth reading.I highly recommendit to you if you life dystopian books!
Also the movie is out now!
*Pictures from the review are not mine, I took them mostly from Google images or Tumblr* If there are no wrong answers, can we really say that something has any meaning?
It is very easy to start an interesting science fiction story. Simply begin with a mystery. Don't explain things to the reader and leave them in a state of wonder. In this way, everything will seem interesting, intriguing, and worth exploring. Tap into the reader’s powers of imagination and allow them to make your story interesting in ways you need not imagine, and perhaps cannot create. This is a good plan for starting a science fiction story. Lots of science fiction stories begin in this way. On television, almost all of them do – ‘XFiles’, ‘Lost’, ‘Battlestar Galactica’, ‘The 4400’, ‘The truth is out there.’ ‘They have a plan.’
‘The Giver’ starts in this way. In the first few pages as the setting unfolded, I was struck by the parallels to China after the cultural revolution – the bicycles, the uniformlike clothing, the regulated life, the shame based culture, and ‘the sameness’. I also thought of China, because I immediately grasped that this had to be a culture which was designed to gently crash its population. There were many clues that the world was heavily overpopulated and the primary goal of the culture so described was to crash the population without descending into society destroying anarchythe highly regulated birthrate, which was insufficient to sustain the population. To sustain the population, more than 17 out of each 25 females would have to be assigned to be birth mothers, and this clearly wasn’t the case. The replacement rate for a society is about 2.3 live births per female (maybe 2.1 in a society that is safe and careful) – clearly they were implied to be below this ratio so clearly this was a society that was trying to shed population.
Equally clearly, this was a society that engaged in widespread euthanasia for the most trivial of causes, which hints at a culture which doesn’t value life because people are in such abundance that they can be readily disposed of. I suspected that ‘Release’ was euthanasia almost immediately from the context in which it was introduced, and this was almost immediately confirmed when it was revealed that infants were subject to ‘release’. Clearly, infants can't be meaningfully banished, so clearly release was euthanasia. So I was intrigued by the story. I wanted to see what happened to Jonas and his naive family who had so poised themselves on the edge of a great family wrecking tragedy in just the first few dozen pages of the story. I wanted to receive from the storyteller answers to the questions that the story was poising, if not some great profound message then at least some story that followed from what she began.
But it was not to be. The first clue that the whole construct was to eventually come crashing down was that Jonas clearly didn’t understand ‘release’ to mean ‘euthanasia’. Nor in fact did anyone seem to know what ‘release’ meant. This shocked me, because in the context of the setting it was virtually impossible that he and everyone else did not know. I could very easily imagine a stable society where human life was not prized – after all, societies that believe that human life is intrinsically valuable are historically far less common than ones that don’t. We know that the society is life affirming, both because we are told how pained and shocked they are by loss and by the fact that Jonas responds to scenes of death with pity and anger. What I could not believe in was a society which held the concept of ‘precision of language’ so tightly and so centrally that the protagonist could not imagine lying could in fact be founded on lies. That’s impossible. No society like that can long endure. Some technological explanation would be required to explain how the society managed to hide the truth from itself. If release took place in some conscious state of mind, then surely the dispensers of Justice, the Nurturers, the Caregivers, and the sanitation workers would all know the lie, and all suspect – as Jonas did – that they were being lied to as well. Surely all of these would suspect what their own future release would actually entail, and surely at least some of them would reject it. Surely some not inconsequential number of new children, reared to value precision of language and to affirm the value of life, would rebel at the audacity of the lie if nothing else. Even in a society that knew nothing of love, even if only the society had as much feeling as the members of the family displayed, and even if people only valued others as much as the Community was shown to value others, surely some level of attachment would exist between people. Soma or not, the seeds of pain, tragedy, conflict and rebellion are present if ever the truth is known to anyone.
Nothing about the story makes any sense. None of it bears any amount of scrutiny at all. The more seriously you consider it, the more stupid and illogical the whole thing becomes. We are given to believe that the society has no conception of warfare, to the point that it cannot recognize a child’s war game for what it is, and yet we are also given to believe that they train pilots in flying what is implied to be a fighter craft and that the community maintains antiaircraft weapons on a state of high alert such that they could shoot down such a fighter craft on a moments notice. We are given to believe that all wild animals are unknown to the community, yet we are also given to believe that potential pest species like squirrels and birds are not in fact extinct. How do you possibly keep them out of the community if they exist in any numbers elsewhere? We are given to believe that technology exists sufficient to fill in the oceans and control the weather and replace the natural biosphere with something capable of sustaining humanity, but that technological innovation continues in primitive culture. We are given to believe that they are worried about overpopulation and starvation, and yet also that most of the world is empty and uninhabited or that this inherently xenophobic community lives in isolation if in fact it doesn’t span the whole of the Earth. We are given to believe that this is a fully industrial society, yet the community at most has a few thousands of people. Surely thousands of such communities must exist to maintain an aerospace industry, to say nothing of weather controllers. Why is no thought given to the hundreds of other Receivers of Memory which must exist in their own small circles of communities in the larger Community? Surely any plan which ignores the small communities place in the larger is foredoomed to failure? Surely the Receiver of Memory knows what a purge or a pogrom is?
How are we to believe that Jonas’s father, whose compassion for little Gabriel is so great that he risks breaking the rules for his sake, whose compassion for little Gabriel is so great that he risks face by going to the committee to plead for Gabriel’s life, whose compassion for little Gabriel is so great that he discomforts himself and his whole family for a year for the sake of the child, is the same man who so easily abandons that same child at a single setback when he has witnessed the child grow and prosper? Doesn’t it seem far easier to believe that this same man, who is openly scornful of the skills and nurturing ability of the night crew, would more readily blame the night crew for Gabriel’s discomfort? I can only conclude, just as I can only conclude about the illogical fact that no one knows what release is, that everything is plastic within the dictates of the plot. Jonas’s father feels and acts one way when the needs of the plot require it and feels and acts in different ways when the needs of the plot require something else. What I can’t believe is that this is any sort of whole and internally consistent character or setting. Every single thing when held up to the light falls apart. There is not one page which is even as substantial as tissue paper.
It is almost impossible to draw meaning from nonsense, so it is no wonder that people have wondered at the ending. What happens? The great virtue of the story as far as modern educators are probably concerned is that there are no wrong answers. What ever you wish to imagine is true is every bit as good of answer as any other. Perhaps he lives. Perhaps he finds a community which lives in the old ways, knowing choice – and war and conflict (which probably explains why the community needs antiaircraft defenses). But more likely from the context he dies. Perhaps he is delusional. Perhaps he gets to the bottom and lies down in the deepening snow which the runners can no longer be pushed through and he dies. Perhaps he dies and goes to heaven, maybe even the heaven of the one whose birthday is celebrated by the implied Holiday. Perhaps it is even the case that he was sent to his death by the cynical Giver, who knew his death was necessary to release the memories he contained by to the community. Perhaps he didn’t just die, but was slaughtered as the sacrificial lamb – killed by a murderous lie from the one he trusted too well. For my entry in the meaningless answers contest, I propose that the whole thing was just a dream. This seems the easiest way to explain the contradictions. A dream doesn’t have to make sense. And the biggest clue that it is a dream is of course that Jonas sees the world in black and white, with only the occasional flashes of recognized color around important colorful things as is typical of that sort of black and white dream. Perhaps Jonas will wake up and engage in dream sharing with his family, and they will laugh at the silliness and then go to the ceremony of twelves. Or perhaps the whole community is only a dream, and Jonas will wake up and go downstairs and open his Christmas presents with his family.
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Check Out the Written Review!
Man oh man, for a children's book...Lowry certainly didn't pull any punches.
Jonas lives in a perfectly perfect world.
Every family has one mother, one father, one girl and one boy.
Families always get along, the parents never disagree, no one has any secrets.
Everyone contributes to society equally.
No one is ever outraged, angry, sad.
The life where nothing was ever unexpected. Or inconvenient. Or unusual. The life without colour, pain or past.However what appears perfect on the surface hides a far darker truth.There isn't any negativity in their world but also, there isn't any true happiness or love.
All emotions are suppressed, children are taken from "birth mothers," and defected individuals are "released." His society is alive but not living.
Jonas is ready to undergo the ceremony of twelves (during which are children born in the same year 'age' to the next level).
He will be assigned his role in society but when he is supposed to accept his new job, he's given the title of Receiver.
Something he's never even heard of. No one really knows what the Receiver does other than the Giver.
Soon Jonas learns that the Giver holds the collected memories of the societies long since past and passes it along to the next generation.
Jonas is faced with startling realities that he would've never consideredhow beautiful color is, how heartbreaking loss is, and how incredibly wonderful love can make a person feel.
The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.And soon, he comes to a decision. One that would irrevocably shift his small world.
Of course they needed to care. It was the meaning of everything.I first read this one in fifth grade and whew. It was a doozie.
Reread it this year and I'm starting to wonder if kids would like English class a lot more if any of the books were a bit more cheerful....
That being said, reading this one as an adult completely changed my perspective.
I remember liking it, in a slightly apathetic way, in fifth grade.
Now, I'm wholly invested in the plot, the characters and the world. What an incredible dystopia!
Very wellread by Ron Rifkin. He wasn't a stunning narrator but definitely an enjoyable one. Though, it was a bit disconcerting to hear a grown man's voice for 12yearold Jonas.
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Happy Reading! *******SPOILER ALERT*******
“I don't know what you mean when you say 'the whole world' or 'generations before him.'I thought there was only us. I thought there was only now.”
Read the book, watch the movie, experience the synergy.
We don’t live in a dystopian world, but we do have a growing number of our population who believe that all that exists is NOW, that history is irrelevant, and that there is no future. It simplifies existence when a person can convince themselves of this. No need to learn about the past, no need to think about tomorrow, they just react to what they have to do today.
I insist on being a more complicated creature. What I learn about the past helps me make decisions about the present. The dreams I have for the future influence my decisions in the NOW. The past, the NOW, and the future all mingle together with very little delineation.
Reading this novel, experiencing this future society, my nerves were as jangled as if Freddy was running his metal tipped fingers down a chalkboard over and over again. That is not Lois Lowry’s fault it had much more to do with my natural abhorrence for everything and everyone being the same.
“The life where nothing was ever unexpected. Or inconvenient. Or unusual. The life without colour, pain or past.”
When Jonas turns twelve he, like every other twelve year old, is assigned his life’s work. He is delegated to the ancient, wise, old man called The Receiver. Because Jonas is now The Receiver, the old man by definition becomes The Giver. He is the vault, the keeper of memories, the only person in the community that knows there was a past. Jonas is understandably confused, overwhelmed with the concept of anything other than NOW.
Jonas is seeing red. In a monochrome society devoid of color, it is the equivalent of seeing a UFO or a Yeti. Color changes everything. As The Giver lays hands on him, transferring more and more memories to Jonas, he starts to see the world as so much more. Color creates depth, not only visually, but also mentally. Jonas’s expectations increase exponentially, quickly. He wants everybody to know what he knows, but of course that is impossible, most assuredly dangerous.
“They were satisfied with their lives which had none of the vibrancy his own was taking on. And he was angry at himself, that he could not change that for them.”
SAMENESS eliminates pain, discrimination, desire, pride, ambition, choice, thinking, and all the other things that make us uniquely human. To eliminate bad things also requires an equal measure of a loss of good things. In making this society the holes in the strainer were just too small.
The Elders select your mate for you (no homosexuality allowed in this society), but then with the elimination of desire, by a cornucopia of pharmaceuticals, it doesn’t really matter if one is gay, straight, or pansexual. Your mate is really just a partner, someone to schedule your life with. Children are assigned to you. They are nurtured by others until they are walking, and then like the stork of old they are plopped into a family unit. Two children only per couple. Women are assigned for childbearing, but only for three children, and then they are relegated as laborers for the rest of their lives. Childbearing is looked on as one of the lowest assignments a woman can be given. The Elders decide what job you will have for the rest of your life, well up until you are RELEASED.
No decisions necessary...ever.
“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”
The Giver, his mind not as elastic as it used to be, is consumed by the pain of the memories. He needs to speed up the process of passing some of that distress to Jonas. For the first time in his life Jonas feels real discomfort. Pills in the past had always taken away any pain he felt, from a skinned knee or even a broken arm. As The Receiver he has to understand the source of the pain, and to do so he must feel it.
There was another Receiver. She had asked to be Released. A more than niggling concern to young Jonas.
Even though the rule for The Receiver, You May Lie, bothers Jonas, it becomes readily apparent the more he learns the more imperative that rule becomes. The veil has been lifted from his eyes, and it is impossible to put the genie back in the bottle. He must choose the path that his predecessor chose ( to be released), or he must go into the great beyond of ELSEWHERE which is anywhere but there. The Giver has had to be so courageous, staying, holding memories for everyone, bearing the annoyance of only being consulted in moments of desperation, knowing so much that could be so helpful, and yet, made to feel like a dusty museum piece with the placard stating: Only Break Glass in Case of Fire.
The conclusion really bothers people, but I consider the ambiguous ending as one of my most favorite parts of the book. For those who read the books Choose Your Own Adventure, this is a Choose Your Own Ending. Pessimists and optimists seem to choose according to their natural preference for a glass half empty or a glass half full. I was struck by an odd parallel between the ending of Ethan Frome and the ending of this book. Only, being an optimist, I of course chose a very different result than the finale of Ethan Frome.
If your children have read this book or are currently reading this book, do read it. The language is by design simplistic. The concepts though are much larger, and you will enjoy your discussions with your children. This is a perfect opportunity to slip in some of your own brainwashing by including some of your own views of our current society into the dialogue.
In an attempt to make Eden they produced a Hell.
I kept thinking as I read it of the culling and the brutality that had to occur to gain this much control over human beings. I most certainly would have been RELEASED in the first wave. Compared to a future like this, we are living in a PARADISE. With all our issues, we still have choice. We have color. We have desire. We have ambition. We have a past, a future, and a present. We are not drugged zombies (well most of us, well some of us). We can read a book and see the world from another’s perspective. We can choose our mate, as dicey as that seems for most people. We can have a child, if we choose, who will be The Receiver of our collective memories and in the process we gain another generation of immortality.
Regardless of how everyone feels about this book, I would hope that most people come away from reading it feeling a little better about life as it is now, and also realize the importance of a remembered past and a hopeful future.
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I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten 3.5/5 Stars! I read this book previously in middle school for English class and was still able to appreciate it almost a decade later.
The Giver is a story that sticks with many of us as it is often a part of required reading in school. I consider it one of the most impactful academic reads from my adolescence as it was one of the first stories to feel targeted towards me. I think the concept is fantastic and appreciate it's method of tackling serious issues through the lens of a teen. Though it was published after many famous dystopian stories of similar nature, I feel The Giver succeeds in resonating with younger readers and challenging them to think critically about society in a way many others cannot.
Reading as an adult though, I do feel I enjoyed it less. I had many more questions about the structure of the world that weren’t answered in text (I’m aware it’s a series, but for a first installment, I feel it could have benefitted with more detail). I felt it was lacking in characterization as I did not feel much attachment to the characters. Additionally, with both times I’ve read this novel, I tend to feel unsatisfied by the ending. The last chapter or so is such a drag in my opinion and doesn’t make me WANT to read more.
Overall, I’m sad that I didn’t enjoy The Giver as much as I did at thirteen but I’m glad I read it a second time. I've taught this book to my 6th graders nine years in a row. Once I realized that the book is actually a mystery, and not the bland scifi adventure it seemed at first skim, I loved it more and more each time. Nine years, two classes most years... 17 TIMES. I've come to see that the book isn't the story of a depressing utopia. It's the story of the relationship between the main characters the Giver, Jonas, and... I won't say her name. And of course, the baby Gabe.
Every year, as we read the book out loud together, I am amazed at details the students notice (things I've missed the previous 15 times), or questions they raise that lead to further insights for not just the class but ME. My God, the things they come up with, that I as an English major, or even me if I'd read this with a book club, could never have gone that far in depth.
As I began to more fully understand the book over the years, I was better able to guide their discussions, which helped them think more deeply about the book, and made me appreciate the book even more. And by "guide," I don't mean calm, controlled, teachery, "I already know the answer" talk.
My discussion techniques, simple:
I'd stop the tape (books on tape are AWESOME the narrator is always so much better than I could ever be) and say something like, "So, what do you think? Doesn't this seem a little WEIRD?" and off they'd go, bouncing ideas off each other until finally someone said something incredible, something no kid had thought of in the past nine years. Once I myself knew how to be interested in this book, I knew what might keep them hooked.
Or, I myself would suddenly realize something new, and I'd stop reading and say, "OH MY GOD DID YOU GUYS GET WHAT THAT MEANT??? WHAT IT MIGHT MEAN????"
I feel free to participate myself, since I myself still have so many questions about the book. I'm not spoiling the ending when I bring up my own questions, because I know this book is a mystery in which things don't much get answered they're left to linger, and that's part of the beauty and hopefulness in this book.
There are still lines, moments, in the book that give me chills. I wait for them greedily, just to hear the words spoken.
I feel lucky to have been forced to read this book a dozen times. There are other books I've read a lot with my students, and this is the one that most stands up over time, the only one that keeps my interest. I truly am on the edge of my seat to see what we will realize next. Because I've seen that, even if I think I have it all figured out, some kid is going to say something to rock my world.
I can't believe Lowry was able to make a book this clever; part of me thinks a work this good is impossible, and that we are just reading too much into it. But no, it's all there, all the pieces, and she put them there. I just don't see how could she have written such a tightly woven mystery how could she have know all of the questions the book would raise? And you know what, she probably didn't. A book isn't like drawing a map. You make the world, and things happen. And in this case, she did make a perfect world. (I SO did not mean that as a UTOPIA PUN!!!!!!! I hate puns so much!!!!!! I mean, she so fully created that world where everything that happens is plausible.)
Just read the damn book, then call me.
Or, call me after like, Chapter 13, then after 18 and 19.
he book. Lines that almost make me cry
This book is perhaps the best refutation that I have seen in some time of a common philosophy of pain that is sometimes found in the popular media and in some versions of Buddhism. According to this philosophy, pain is the ultimate evil, and so, to eliminate pain and suffering we must give up desire, and individuality. Self is an illusion, and leads to pain; desire and agency are dangerous, so we should give them up and join the cosmic oneness "enlightenment" to find a utopia without pain. As George Lucas unfortunately has Yoda say to Anakin, "you must give up all that you fear to lose."
And, of course, this is hogwash. Choice, agency, adversity, love, desire, and real pleasure are dangerous, they can lead to pain, but without them life has no purpose. Love could lead to the loss of that which we love, but life without love is empty. Purpose comes from choosing. Purpose comes from overcoming adversity. Yes, you could choose poorly, and that could lead to pain, choice is dangerous, but without it, life has no meaning, it is colorless. Greatness in life is found by overcoming adversity, not by the absence of adversity. Without opposition, there is nothing to overcome, and thus there may be no bad, but there is also no good, there may be no pain, but there is also no joy.
The book's ending mirrors this ambiguity. Although some later books answer some of these questions, at the end of this book we are left to wonder: Did he die? Did he live? All we really know is that he was made free, and he made a choice... was it the right one? Did it lead to happiness for him? Did it lead to happiness for the community who will now have his memories? Will they destroy themselves, or will the Giver be able to help them find true purpose and happiness in life? We don't know, because that is the way of all choices. We can't always know the outcomes of our decisions, and therein lies the danger, but the risk is well worth the rewards.