Okay, so I finally did it. I finished The Giver, though it shouldn't have been that hard when the book is only 179 pages long.
Here's the blurby blurb!
"Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back."
This book grabbed my hand, threw me into a tumbling world of chaotic order and hidden mysteries, so let's dive in!
*Spoiler - Spoiler - Spoiler - Spoiler - Spoiler*
If you could not tell, that's the spoiler line. Spoilers, dangerous creatures, are down below and if you don't want to be eaten by them because you haven't read the book yet, then I'd advise you to go and do that first for your own safety.
But I'm glad to say that I've finally finished it, and my mint chocolate goodness...why did I not read it earlier?
First things first, besides talking about the cover, I must congratulate Louis Lowry on her amazing ability to write this entire world that is filled to the brim with information and rules, in only 179 pages. I am so impressed, I'm oozing jealousy. Louis Lowry, I'm just saying...if you ever want to hang out and just casually discuss books and writing, I'm totally up for it...*cough*
There are so many different covers for The Giver, so I just included the first one that came out (On the left, with the old guy), and the new movie adaption one (On the right, the one that looks like an eye). I've seen the Old-Guy-Cover around at certain bookstores, but it never really caught me. I'm like a Crow - Shiny, pretty things attract me and the desire of I must have it becomes apparent. On the other hand though, I'm not a huge fan of Movie-Adaption Covers. If I can get the Movie-Adaption-Cover on the DvD, what makes you think I'm going to double that by getting it on the book too? *That's if I even like the movie after having read the book, though*
While both these main covers don't grab me, I actually went out of my way to find one that I really liked...I also wanted to buy the boxset, not just The Giver...
So my copy of it is fairly thick and heavy, comes with its own bookmark, and entirely red. It contains the four books; The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son. I got it from the Book Depository, so if you're interested in getting one yourself, I highly recommend it!
To summarise; The story starts with Jonas, a Eleven, about to receive his assignment in the community in the upcoming Ceremony. An assignment is the job that you will have for the rest of your life, or until you get Released. At the Ceremony, Jonas receives the assignment of 'Receiver of Memories', a job he is told by the Chief Judge that will cause him pain. Under the present Receiver's guidance, Jonas learns more and more about the Community's past and what was before the Community was formed. Memories of things like snow, love, and *Spoiler COUGH COUGH COUGH SPOILER* colour make him feel isolated and separated from his friends, who have no clue that any of these things existed. Jonas feels like the Community cannot live like this anymore, and with the help of the Receiver, they devise a plan to escape and help the Community receive the memories they have forgotten.
All the different characters were awesome, but only a few really stood out to me.
- Jonas: He, being the main protagonist, is who we follow throughout the story. I really liked Jonas, he seemed like a cute little brother figure that I might adopt under my wing and who I would mock mercilessly. It was interesting to learn alongside him, to feel the immense pain and joy as he felt each memory from The Giver. (Don't worry Jonas, I've never seen snow either)
- The Giver: Oh man, oh man oh man...The Giver is just like what Jonas called him - A Grandfather - I imagine him being this elderly looking man who has one of those wheezy, warm laughs that fill you with joy even though you might not be laughing. You can feel the wisdom and experience in every word and movement, and you sit there eagerly to learn and listen from him. I've known a few grandfatherly type of men in my life (My Grandad's being one) so that's who I envisioned for The Giver. His patience and understanding concerning Jonas was so tender, so warm. I loved him :)
- Jonas's Dad: You little punk, I trusted you and you tore that trust into tiny little pieces, ate them, spat them back out, spat them into a box, and waved bye-bye to it as you threw it out. *Points aggressively at you*
- Gabriel: I'm so glad that Jonas had enough sense to actually grab Gabriel at the end. He wasn't in too much of the book, but I still grew attached to him and was thinking, 'Now Jonas...I'm teetering on the side of eye-twitcher, but you better have grabbed Gabriel or I will destroy everything'. So let's give a cheer for Jonas to have enough common sense for a Twelve! (Unlike some other YA protagonists *CoughtriskatnissbellaCough*)
I wasn't really sure what I was getting into when I started reading this book. All that I knew of it was from the trailer of the movie, and what friends were explaining to me. Granted, the trailers actually spoiled a few dramatic moments in the book (Like when Jonas learns from The Giver that the changes he sees occasionally is actually colour, and that in real time everything is grey because of Sameness), so the moment didn't have the same impact it would have had if I didn't learn about it prior.
I was so intrigued with the quick handed slang words and the idea of their culture being so controlled by the Elders - letting them choose who they will marry, what job they will have for the rest of their lives, how many children they can have, and all the other rules that they abide by without question - I tried to imagine what it would be like to have someone completely dictate your life, and having only a level of freedom to choose. It'd suck. I like knowing that I can decide whether or not I'm going to stuff my face with an entire bag of chips, and feel bad about it afterwards. I like knowing that I can choose who I am going to one-day marry and how many children I want to have. They are simple things that we don't think about too often, but if taken away, they'd change my life dramatically.
Like Jonas, who was dealing with more and more realisations that his community was actually cracking and coming apart at the seams, the final blow came from the moment he watched his father release the baby twin because he was the lesser of the two, and in their Community, there are no twins and no names used twice. I've never felt sick in a book before because of a moment, but I can honestly say that as I was reading it, I could vividly imagine what it was like for Jonas to finally understand that to be released meant to be executed by lethal injection, whether or not by their choice. Jonas's Father, someone who is so loving and so nurturing throughout the story, unquestioningly silences a child because it didn't weigh more than the other twin and that was part of his job's assignment rules. If a book could give any feeling, it'd have been one of a knife repeatedly falling into my chest casually. Just a, 'Oh hi there...didn't see you as I was gashing this knife in a downwards motion into your feeling heart. My bad'. Like seriously Dad? You had to go there? You just had to be a baby-killer...
This book has to be one of my absolutely favourite books now. It had such weight and impact behind it that I could honestly see myself reading it again and again, finding new bits to inspect and place in my pocket.
The ending was even ambiguous, just like life. It leaves you with questions of, 'Did Jonas and Gabriel survive? Did they find where they were looking for? Did Jonas make the right choice?" we all get to interpret the ending according to what we want to decide for ourselves, and in that sense, use our freedom of choice
*Millions of brain cells exploding from the pure mind explosion*
(My favourite quote from this book is....)
“And here in this room, I re-experience the memories again and again it is how wisdom comes and how we shape our future.”
― Lois Lowry, The Giver