A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{May 13, 2013}   The Giver by Lois Lowry

giverPlot: Jonas lives in a perfectly ordered society. Everyone knows the rules and their place in the world. But when Jonas turns twelve, he is not given an assignment like the other new twelves: instead he is singled out to become the new Receiver of Memory. It will be his job to hold all the memories, feelings and experiences that the community has sacrificed in the pursuit of peace and harmony. But learning the truth will force Jonas to confront all he was raised to believe.

I don’t know how I’ve gone this long without reading this YA classic. I’m probably not the first person who has told you this, but you should read Lowry’s novel if you have any interest in utopia stories. It is a wonderful example of good intentions creating a terrible authoritarian regime. And Lowry makes it feel real, like it could happen.

The chapters are quick and the story engaging (though not action-packed in the way people have come to expect of distopian YA). I found myself frantically turning pages, reeling with every reveal along with Jonas. The dawning understanding of how the community literally sees the world was a shock to me, though not the worst one. Watching Jonas learn and struggle with new truths is the real interest of the book.

The ending is a little open; some might be unsatisfied with this but it suits the book. Lowry doesn’t give any easy answers. She doesn’t tell us whether Jonas made the right choice, between peace and freedom, but allows us to come to our own conclusion. But for those who want to discover Jonas’ fate, there is hope, however: Lowry has written three companion novels, Gathering Blue, Messenger and Son.

2013 (#24)


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