#11- The Giver
This book has been around for a long time, it was published in 1993 (only one year younger than me!) and since then has recieved high amounts of praise.
I read this book in middle school and while I knew I enjoyed it, I couldnt quite remember the plot lines so I chose to re-read it for the purpose of this blog.
While reading I was astounded to see how similar it was to many of the other books I have read recently, such as Matched (number 78). I had to keep reminding myself that they werent based off of eachother.
The giver follows the life of a boy named Jonas, who lives in a town set in the far future. Everyone there is exactly the same, they share the same birthday in december, celebrated with a ceremony where they are given a new reward each year. The children are taught from a young age that its important to be good community members, that they must follow the rules and one day they too will become important leaders in society.
Every household has one mother and father, along with two children, one of each gender. They aren't allowed to "love" one another, they may be proud of their accomplishments and feel that they are good people, but when it comes to romance they take pills in order to stop the "stirrings" that raise inside of them. Essentially their entire lives are chosen for them, but they like it, because they know no other way.
At age 12, they are given jobs based on what the commitee of elders decides that they are capable of. The 12's have been doing community service hours since a young age and are usually quite skilled in one profession and have a feeling about what job they will receive.
Jonas is the exception to this rule, he has chosen many volunteer oppertunites and has no clue what will happen to him the day of the ceremony. When the big day comes, he is quite confused when they skip his name during the announcements of jobs. At the very end, the head of the committee explains what is happening, Jonas has been chosen for a very special job. One that has been done by the same old man for many years. He will be the reciever of memories.
As Jonas heads off to his first day of work, he meets "The Giver". The man who holds all of the memories, of all time. He begins to show them to Jonas one at a time, first sledding down a snowy hill, something that has never been experienced due to "sameness" there is no need for snow or hills in their town. After many pleasant memories, Jonas realizes that soon he will have to deal with the painful ones as well. As he continues to receive more and more memories he realizes how much this town is unaware of, and he wants to change it.
Setting out on a journey that could risk both his life and the lives of many others, Jonas tries to do what no one else in his town has done before... be different.
I really enjoyed reading this book, it was short enough that I wasn't wondering when it would end, and fast paced enough that I finished it within one day and found myself wishing that there was still more to the story. It has an interesting way of viewing how different the world could be if people werent allowed to feel different and feel pain. I think its better to be able to feel pain and love and triumph and celebration, you take the good with the bad in order to live life the way that you want to live it.
“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”