The Giver – Lois Lowry

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This is a very popular book with a movie adaptation out in 2014. I first became aware of this book online and only heard vast amounts about it around the time of the movie release. Unusually there wasn’t a lot of hype here in Northern Ireland when the movie hit the screens and therefore I didn’t get the chance to see it. As well I probably wouldn’t have gone to the cinema to see it anyway having not read the book. However now that I have read the book I am dying to see the movie. To top it off actors include Meryl Streep, Taylor Swift and Jeff Bridges so already it sounds like a movie I would like to see.

The Giver is centred on a community lifestyle of equality, with each birthday comes a special significance such as a new item of clothing or a new possession. When children reach the age of 12 they are assigned their position in society and something that they will do throughout their lives. The plot follows a boy called Jonas as he reaches the age of 12, however as he watches his class walk to the stage to receive their new positions in training he is left sitting. With anticipation he wonders why he was missed and what makes him difference. At the end he is called up to be told he has a very special position and has been singled out to receive training from The Giver, an elder that holds the information from past generations and the lives before the equality of ‘sameness’ living. Receiving the truth of a life gone by is not only a painful and confusing process but one that is difficult to accept for a young boy in a society that he has only ever known.

This book begins as a utopian style of living with everyone respecting each other and living a very structured way of life, however as the book develops it edges into the fringes of a dystopian style novel and in many aspects I found it a little dark. I really enjoyed the characters in this book as they were all very interesting in their own ways. I thought the society was strange and found their strict and unusual structure a little disturbing. However is it so far-fetched that a life this way is impossible in the future? I’d be wary to say no with what is achievable in society today.

This is the first book I have read by Lois Lowry, yet I found the writing easy to read, perfectly paced for the plot and an author that I could really start to see more of on my shelves. I was really shocked to find out that this wasn’t a stand-alone novel and at the same time I became very excited to learn that there was more to this plot. The other three books are already on my books to buy list and I cannot wait to see what direction this plot goes in. If you haven’t already checked this book out, I would recommend it because it as it is an unusual plot but an enjoyable read. It provokes many questions and I can understand why it holds place on many school reading lists and is a studied novel.

As this was a really interesting and thought-provoking read I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars on goodreads although part of me thinks it deserves the full 5 stars for its individuality. I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the series and watching the movie for hope that it stays true to the original plot. Definitely pick this one up if you haven’t already. It is the perfect book for a cold, wintery night in and that is experience talking.

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