Title: The Giver
Author: Lois Lowry
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 208
Publication Date: January 24, 2006
The community in The Giver is free of sickness, crime, emotional pain and suffering but at what price? Eleven-year-old Jonas is slowly discovering the cost society has paid by its citizens for such security. “Coming of age” for Jonas may be more than he can bear when faced with his community’s history. All aspects of a citizen’s life are decided by departments within society, for example a citizen’s parents, spouse and career are chosen for him/her. The career chosen for Jonas sets him apart from everyone else in society and also opens a vault of secrets that will certainly change his point of view on the “perfect” community he thought he was living in.
Thoughts on the book: (spoiler alert)
The Giver made clear, in an extreme sense, how things can turn bad, even when everything appears to be perfect, when people accept their environment unconditionally. For Jonas becoming the Receiver of all memories for his society is a staggering way to come of age. Can he respect a society that maintains its security at the expense of some and under a code that ethically seems terribly wrong?
Another question that came to mind while reading The Giver: Is there a benefit to a community issuing jobs to citizens that can’t quite figure out a career for themselves, instead of handing out welfare, unemployment or even in some cases disability checks?
“Better to steer clear of an occasion governed by a rule which would be so easy to break.”
–Lois Lowry The Giver