The Giver by Louis Lowry reminds me a lot of Farenheit 451, Anthem or Brave New World in the sense that these books begin with a Utopian society in place and the set up for the main character to challenge this utopia. The society in The Giver exists to maintain a sense of sameness for everyone in the city, but in turn has removed some of the depth, mainly the highs and lows from life. Children are regulated and awarded (2 per couple, one boy, one girl), not the product of a regular marriage relations, marriages are arranged, children have schedules to follow down to when they begin riding bicycle, wear shoes with buttons, when they don’t have to have ribbons in their hair (for girls). The children also go through a volunteer process, where they try out various areas of labor and work so that the council can evaluate their skills and assign them a job task for life. The book begins with Jonas, the main character, anticipating this big life change for him. He hasn’t been partial to any of the jobs he has volunteered at and therefore does not know where he will be assigned. At the ‘Ceremony of Twelve’, after initially being skipped over, Jonas is given the task of the ‘Receiver of Memory’, of which, there is only one in the community. He is given cryptic instructions and begins meetings with ‘The Giver’. Turns out ‘the Giver’, who eventually becomes like his surrogate grandfather, holds all of the knowledge of the past, wars, snow, family, hate, violence, the ocean, etc. His job is to transfer these memories to Jonas. Through the transfers, Jonas becomes disillusioned with the society he lives in. The remainder of the book chronicles Jonas’ decisions of what to do with this new found knowledge that he can’t share with anyone.
I really enjoyed this book – it was a very quick read and highly recommended! Hopefully, I’ll read the two sequels soon, Gathering Blue and The Messenger. . . 8.5/10