The thirty-third book I read in 2014 was The Giver by Lois Lowry. I finished this book on 4/30/14. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5. I didn’t know this before I went to the author’s website, but this is apparently the first in a 4 book series. This book is about a boy named Jonas who lives in a dystopian society. Jonas’ world is free from war, pain, or really any other kind of strong emotion. He lives in an extremely structured society where children are taught strict rules and are grouped by ages into groups (Ones, Twos, Threes, etc).
When the Elevens graduate into becoming Twelves however, they are assigned their jobs where they will work for the rest of their lives. When it comes to be Jonas’ turn though he is not assigned but selected. He is selected to be the next Receiver of Memories for his community. Apparently in this Society they select one person to hold the memories of the world so that those memories can assist the Elders in making tough decisions but the whole population will not be subjected to these memories. The worst part about this is that one person has to hold all the pain of the world but the Elders only ask him for advice every few years. And as Jonas learns, receiving these memories from the previous Receiver (now named The Giver as he is giving all his memories to Jonas) is extremely painful, especially when you have lived your whole life sheltered from any kind of pain. Jonas learns to truly feel things for the first time, not only pain but love, joy, and warmth. He learns about colors and begins seeing them in his daily life. This is a lonely task though as none of the other people in his life can feel anything.
This book is classified as a dystopian novel. Per Wikipedia, “a dystopia is a community or society that is in some important way undesirable or frightening.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dystopia) Other examples of recently popular dystopian novels include Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Ruth, and The Host by Stephanie Meyer, all of which have been made into movies in recent years as well. Dystopian novels normally portray some kind of futuristic society in which the hero/heroine is in danger because of that society. I find these books to be fascinating portrayals of what society could end up as in some future era.
One of my mini-goals for this year was to read a book from Goodread’s/Amazon’s “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime” listing. This book was on that list as a “classic dystopia” novel. Here is a link to the listing: http://www.amazon.com/b/ref=bhp_brws_100bks?ie=UTF8&node=8192263011&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-leftnav&pf_rd_r=15NGNHHEHC9AP9YBWM40&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1779646742&pf_rd_i=283155. This technically was a re-read for me since I read this book in middle school as part of a Mother-Daughter Book Club. With the movie coming out soon though (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0435651/?ref_=nv_sr_1) I thought it was worth a re-read to make sure I am up to speed. I always think that reading the book before you see the movie is the better way to do it. Our minds are powerful things and can create magical worlds from the descriptions on a page, but the movies tell you what is and how it should look. I much prefer to imagine it myself.
This novel was utterly fascinating, I could not put the book down. And one of the things I love about dystopian novels is that they are so thought provoking. To think that society could someday end up like this, taking away all choices and feelings in order to protect people, is astounding. This is a great novel and honestly is a great read for young adults.
Link to author website: http://www.loislowry.com/
Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Giver-Lois-Lowry/dp/0385732554/ref=br_lf_m_1002140381_2_38_clkmr?ie=UTF8&s=books&pf_rd_p=1736476662&pf_rd_s=center-3&pf_rd_t=1401&pf_rd_i=1002140381&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=05YZJVS9F27YVSQF866H