Friday, October 14, 2011

Review: The Giver

The Giver
The Giver by Lois Lowry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found this book very exciting and the storyline seemed very realistic. This is a world I could see happening. Even in our present society we seek pleasure and happiness over pain. But what happens when our memories of pain are gone and we no longer remember what it is like to hurt, not physically, but emotionally? How can we call ourselves human if we actually feel nothing?

The main characters were a mix of flat and well-rounded. But for this novel that mixture works. Mother, Father, and Lily seemed flat but I expected that given the subject matter. If they were as well rounded and fleshed out as The Giver and Jonas, I do not feel the book would not have the same pull and meaning to the reader.

Asher was a bit cliche as your typical hyperactive and fun seeking child. This is what I call the "poster child for Ritalin" and it was not surprising when his assignment was revealed. I felt Fiona was only mentioned by name in order to advance the plot and give a reason for the changes brought on by Jonas' maturation.

The world built within the book was fascinating and I felt it was the right choice for details to be withheld until needed in conjunction with the storyline. I did not expect color to be absent until it was mentioned that Jonas was beginning to see the color red. This took me by surprise but made sense as too much unrest could be created within a society based on coloring alone. Not just unrest over differences in skin color but the concept of beauty based on coloring or the mental notation of all members of a certain profession having a certain coloring similarity could create apprehension in Elevens. There are so many reasons for the absence of color that I could see why it would be reserved only for the Receiver of Memory.

I felt the pacing of the novel was just a bit hurried toward the end but that fits well with the danger and fear that Jonas felt fleeing the community. I would have loved a further discussion of the significance and meaning when the Giver said that Rosemary was his daughter. Does this mean that Jonas is genetically his son? What about Gabriel? Or was it meant that she was his "daughter" in his family unit? How do geneticists get the DNA used to create the newchildren? I know there are Birthmothers but how is the process of insemination started and where do the male sex alleles come from? I wish it was discussed in further detail.

I gave this book a five star rating because I was deeply interested and entertained by the storyline. I felt the writing was spectacular, and I enjoyed the use of flat and complex characters. There was meaning behind the construction of the world within this book. And I found it thought provoking and contemplative. My only complaint with the book was that it ended too soon. LOL.

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