Review: The Giver

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A perennial favorite, Lois Lowry’s The Giver probably needs no introduction, but nonetheless:

This haunting story centers on Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he’s given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. (Via Goodreads)

I give Lois Lowry’s The Giver five out of five stars.

When I embarked on my reading challenge in early 2016, I didn’t have many books picked out, but I knew that I was going to save Read a Book You’ve Read Before for last.  I thought perhaps I would read To Kill A Mockingbird and follow it up with Go Set A Watchman. Or maybe I would revisit Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  I’m so glad that I ended up rereading The Giver instead.

This particular book is so special because it contrasts utopia with reality.  It’s also one of the first books that confronts the status quo that children are really exposed to – I know that was the case with me.  It was also probably the first “rise up against that which controls you” book that I encountered.  I thought that, having read it before, reading it once again might be boring.  But, fortunately, I was wrong.

Rereading The Giver as an adult was an absolute treat. Once again, I fell into the familiarity with the world in which Jonas lives; its comfort, its security, its focus on equality and kindness.  And once again, I was shocked, coming to realizations along with Jonas about what his world is truly like, and what the implications of every day-to-day action are.  It was striking in a different way to read it, as I better understand the complexities of everyday life, and the struggle to move toward a perfect world in which there is no fear, no lack of resources, and a sure place for everyone.

Because of The Giver’s profound ability to stir up questions that lay dormant, because of its magnificent prose, because of its magnificent innocence, I am proud to give it five stars.

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