This is the first book that I’ve read in Bart of Bart’s Bookshelf YA Dystopian Reading Challenge. It is also one out of three books I got in a set written by Lois Lowry. How they are connected, I don’t know yet. In fact, I hesitated at first calling this one dystopian, since Jonas, main protagonist of The Giver, doesn’t live in a dystopian world. He lives in a utopian world.
In Jonas’ world everything is in complete order. You know exactly how to speak correct language, rudeness is forbidden by law, lying is forbidden, families are put together through careful planning and matchmaking, work is put into a system where all know how, when and where to work and there are no outsiders. All are equal, all are same. They share sameness. At the age of 12 you are an adult and this is where you begin your training to become a scientist, nurse, speaker, lawyer, garderner, laborer or whatever your assigned field of work is going to be.
We meet Jonas and his friends of the 11-group shortly before their year 12 year (everyone has a birthday on the same day, although after 12, this is no longer celebrated) Jonas is looking forward to reach the group of 12 and become and adult, and he wonders what his assignment is going to be. He is in for a surprise, when he is singled out as the new Receiver of Memory for the community he lives in. And this is where the dystopian element enters the story. Jonas discovers that everything and everyone does not have to share sameness, and the consequences of this are huge when he realises that there used to be another world. Question is, will he be able to continue his life is this “Utopia” of his or must he move towards a truer world?
I have read that another of Lois Lowry books deal with the opposite of Jonas’ world, where a new protagonist (this time a girl) grows up in Dystopia as opposed to Jonas’ Utopia. I am looking forward to read that one, although I wasn’t quite as taken with The Giver as I have been with some of the other YA dystopian I’ve read recently. Sure it was thought provoking, but it did not really get to me. I didn’t hate it though, and will definitely read more by Lois Lowry.
Don’t forget to check out Bart’s Bookshelf using the link above.