To the people of various Communities located around the world, life involves little pain or suffering, as well as minimal dissent and disagreements. People in the Communities have no conception of true suffering, of starvation, of chaos, or of war. Every aspect of their lives are carefully controlled, from what they do as a career to who they are in a "family unit" with. They have no worries, no desires, but also no choice nor aspiration. However, one boy gets the opportunity to experience all that no one else has, both good and bad. Actually, this boy does not truly get to choose to take all of these experiences in, but the role is forced on him by the Council of the Elders. The boy, Jonas, through his new found experiences and the wisdom that he gains through them, realizes that without the good and bad in life, life simply becomes a waste of time. Lois Lowry's The Giver entranced me with the sheer oddity of a seemingly perfect society, then horrified me with the truth about every action behind the scenes.
As previously mentioned, Jonas has been chosen to receive experiences in the form the memories of ancestral people. One person in the Community must bear this monumental task for the rest, and every once in a blue moon a new "receiver" must be chosen. Needless to say, Jonas is the newest receiver and must obtain the memories from the previous receiver, now known as the "giver." As time passes and Jonas receives more and more memories, he begins to realize that his "perfect" world possesses some flaws. In order to maintain complete equality and perfection, in addition to every aspect of life being controlled, the climate, landscape, and even color of everything is strictly manipulated into a never-changing, flat, and bland world. Jonas, caught between his duty as the new receiver and his desire to show the world what he sees and feels, must choose either to stay and live in a pretended ignorant bliss or to relinquish everything he has known and cherished for the sake of the populous.
Lois Lowry's main goal in writing this book must have been embedding serious themes subtly within. One of the most prevalent throught the novel is the question, "What sacrifices should be made in order to obtain perfection, and moreover, would they be worth the loss." The people in The Giver sacrificed their strongest emotions, the variation of the Earth, and their freedom to make their own choices, but were their decisions worth the peace and leasure that served as a replacement? Is peace and prosperity worth blandness and a pre-decided fate?
Lois Lowry and her book, The Giver, provoke many difficult questions that must be answered, while simultaneously telling an imersing tale of love and sacrifice. Honestly, this book belongs among the best that I have read, and that is saying something. I cannot think of any reason someone should not read this book, so to all, go pick this book up somewhere, find a comfortable position, grab a glass of sweet tea, and begin reading. Chances are you will like what you read.