The Giver by Lois Lowry
There is so much that is intriguing about the story. We learn through the eyes of a boy, Jonas, about the way the society is organized and the rules by which all carefully abide. At first it seems a pleasant place, where everyone gets along, fears are dealt with and solved, children are excited about their next yearly advancement - from smaller buttons on their coats to getting a bicycle to finding out what they will do the rest of their lives. The elderly are treated with gentleness and compassion, but in one of the first descriptions of the home for the old, we hear just a bit about the ceremony of release, which all of the old celebrate when they reach a certain age. This concept is what first alerted me to the idea that all was not as sweet as Jonas thinks they are. By the end of the book, Jonas has become fully alert to what his community is doing to assure tranquility.
The final blow that alters Jonas's confidence in the community is the true nature of the release. Sadly, this made the book move from an interesting alternate society to a book that made me regret reading it.
I was confused all along about the lack of colors, and why the Giver transmitted the memories as he did, and why the memories left when he passed them on. The book would have been better, in my opinion, if these matters were explained, and even altered if explanation wasn't possible. There not being mountains or colors was too heavy-handed a symbol of the flat, colorless society. The ending was unsatisfying, and because of the nature of the release, even though I suspected that all was not as it seemed, I was still shocked by the cruelty. The book could have been better.
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