As we all know, dystopian novels are all the rage now. They’re full of action and deceit, compromising situations that force the characters and readers to understand the fault in our natures. There’s usually killing and darker themes, things that force us to see the utter chaos a dystopian society brings.
But once upon a time there was a simpler, quieter dystopian in disguise: The Giver by Lois Lowery.
The Giver focuses on Jonas, a young boy who is given the job of being The Receiver of Memories. As the previous Receiver, known to Jonas only as the Giver, gives him memories of past lives, past worlds, Jonas is opened up to a world he never knew existed, one with feelings and emotions, war, terror, sunshine, and family. He begins to realize the faults of his perfect society, flipping between understanding and disgust. But when he sees a terrible act done by someone he is close to, Jonas, with the help of the Giver, plans to escape, something that is unheard of in his community.
This is the first of my Retro Reads that I actually reread before I wrote about it. I remember it being very good when I first read it when I was younger, but I didn’t remember THAT much. What I didn’t remember, though, was feeling like I had been punched in the stomach and all the breath sucked out of me in one second.
As a younger reader I don’t remember understanding a lot of the ideas presented in this book but I got the general concept of them. As an older reader I see how simplistic the ideas are presented, but have a better grasp of their full impact. There’s a scene in which Jonas and the Giver discuss the idea of “choice” and what would happen if people got to choose their own spouse or career. It really makes you think… what would happen? Well, we can look at our own society and see exactly what happens.
Part of me wishes I had been a more critical reader when I was younger so I could have gotten more out of this book, but either way, I remember it to be one of the best books of its time, one that not only entertained but made me think. As an adult, it still has a huge, if not bigger, impact on me and the way I see our society.
Like this post? You may like these: