Tuesday, January 14, 2020

9. The Giver

The Giver. Lois Lowry. 1993. Houghton Mifflin. 180 pages. [Source: Library] [Children's Fiction; Dystopia; MG Fiction; Newbery Medal]

First sentence: It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened. No. Wrong word, Jonas thought. Frightened meant that deep, sickening feeling of something terrible about to happen. Frightened was the way he had felt a year ago when an unidentified aircraft had overflown the community twice. He had seen it both times. Squinting toward the sky, he had seen the sleek jet, almost a blur at its high speed, go past, and a second later heard the blast of sound that followed. Then one more time, a moment later, from the opposite direction, the same plane.

Premise/plot: Jonas, a twelve-year-old boy, is chosen to be his community's new Receiver. This assignment is rare; this is truly something that occurs only once per generation--sometimes two or even three. But what is it he is receiving? The Giver--the former Receiver, the old man pictured on the cover--is sharing his memories, but not just HIS memories but many, many, many, many generations of memories. Memories of time before, of history past, of days long before the SAMENESS. These memories will supposedly enable him to see beyond and gain wisdom beyond his years. But can he handle the truth? Once his eyes are opened, can he be content with the way things are?!?! Could you?!?!

My thoughts: The Giver has to be one of my most favorite books of all times. According to my blog, this is my sixth book review of The Giver. According to GoodReads, I've read it ten times now. That sounds about right. I certainly read it before I started blogging. Though I don't think I read it when it came out in 1993.

Favorite quotes:

"We don't dare to let people make choices of their own."
"Not safe?" The Giver suggested.
"Definitely not safe," Jonas said with certainty. "What if they were allowed to choose their own mate? And chose wrong? Or what if," he went on, almost laughing at the absurdity, "they chose their own jobs?'
"Frightening, isn't it? The Giver said.
Jonas chuckled. "Very frightening. I can't even imagine it. We really have to protect people from wrong choices."
"It's safer."
"Yes," Jonas agreed. "Much safer." (98-9)
"Do you love me?"
There was an awkward silence for a moment. Then Father gave a little chuckle. "Jonas, You, of all people. Precision of language, please!"
"What do you mean?" Jonas asked. Amusement was not at all what he had anticipated.
"Your father means that you used a very generalized word, so meaningless that it's become almost obsolete," his mother explained carefully.
Jonas stared at them. Meaningless? He had never before felt anything as meaningful as the memory.
"And of course our community can't function smoothly if people don't use precise language. You could ask, 'Do you enjoy me?' The answer is 'Yes,'" his mother said. "Or," his father suggested, "Do you take pride in my accomplishments?' And the answer is wholeheartedly 'Yes.'"
"Do you understand why it's inappropriate to use a word like 'love'?" Mother asked.
Jonas nodded. "Yes, thank you, I do," he replied slowly.
It was his first lie to his parents. (127)

© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

Lark said...

I love this book, too! :) Though I haven't read it quite as many times as you.