Saturday, June 25, 2011

Review: The Giver

Author-  Lois Lowry
Bantam Doubleday Audio

 "They were satisfied with their lives which had none of the vibrance his own was taking on.  And he was angry at himself, that he could not change that for them."

I have to admit, when I was searching for a new audiobook and came across The Giver, it seemed like the perfect choice.  I hadn't read the book since high school and thought it would make a great addition to my newly created YA blog.    The problem do I begin to review a Newberry Medal winner that has been analyzed, criticized and reviewed by the most elite of industry professionals? The answer is...I'm not.   Instead of a review, I'm calling this an appreciation of work.   Books speak to each of us in different ways, especially pieces of work like The Giver-  this is my interpretation, my truth.

From the cover: 

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's time for Jonas to receive the truth.  There is no turning back.
Without a doubt, The Giver is one of the most thought provoking novels I've ever read (or heard in this case).  The novel is set in a seemingly perfect community in a futuristic society.   Everyone looks similar in appearance and dress, there is little crime, and being different is considered shameful.  Farfetched you say? not really.   For me, this world where individualism is discouraged is a very real place-  I saw it everyday growing up in southern Alabama and was able to visualize it perfectly.   In this world where no one makes choices, there are no consequences for making wrong decisions.  There is also no happiness when the right choice is made.   I'm sure we've all heard the saying "you've got to take the bad with the good".   While there are several messages and lessons we can learn from The Giver, this is the one that spoke the loudest to me.   The only way we can experience love and joy is to understand loneliness and pain.   There was one period for which I refer to as the most difficult in all my life-  if you ask if I would change it, I would say "not in a million years".  Why?  because like Jonas (the protagonist) I am better for it and wiser.   The Giver is one of my favorites, and if you haven't read it in 12 or so years like me, I recommend the audiobook version.   The storytelling is perfect.

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