Book Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry

Published in 1993, The Giver is a children’s novel with a considerably thought-provoking theme. I’ve just heard about this book because of its upcoming movie adaptation. I was checking out Meryl Streep’s upcoming movies and got curious about them. It’s a shame that in the public school where I studied, we never had materials like this to read; mostly, they were academic books that were just related to our eight-subject curriculum. This feels like I’m defending myself from not reading this during my earlier years, but yes, I guess I am. I didn’t have the adequacy then to find the best books to read; I’m trying, though, but enough about my blahblahblah of a childhood. lol

my copy of the book with my gohan :)
my copy of the book with my Gohan toy from my childhood 🙂

Prior to reading it in its entirety, I already found it interesting based on its summary and the reviews I’ve been reading on the net. The book focuses on Jonas, who lives in a community they call Sameness. Here, everything is in order, from the creation of a family unit to the educational system, jobs, and even deaths. It’s a seemingly utopian world where everything seems to be running fine until Jonas is selected to be the receiver of memories. They are memories of the world’s past—color, emotions, animals, etc.

After learning or receiving these memories from the Giver, Jonas gained the wisdom to really see beyond his eerily orderly community and decided to seek change. Knowing this was close to impossible, Jonas asked for the help of The Giver, but the only way he could create change was to escape from his community.

The book was surprisingly fast-paced and thoroughly concise. The idea of this utopian society was well dissected. Published several years before The Hunger Games, I could say that there are some sort of similarities, or at least a feeling of similarities, between the two. For one, you could easily compare Sameness to the Capitol and its districts. Perhaps it’s the strict compliance of its law? The advance technology? and even the distribution of jobs. And what’s so profound about the two is the fact that in The Giver, the community was made to forget the memories that they deemed unpleasant or unnecessary, while in The Hunger Games, people in the districts were always reminded of a revolution against the Capitol’s oppression through a cruel game, and its people were deprived of something that they had “the right to” in the past. There is some sort of ironic parallelism between the two that ultimately symbolizes a lot of things that were happening then and now.

Incidentally, the book has three accompanying novels entitled Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son, which are all set in the same timeline.

It was a nice read that will make you eager to learn more, to continue with the journey with Jonas and Gabriel, and to see what has become of them.

I fervently wished that this book would find its way to the schools here in Pampanga (my province) because this could really set out a great deal of discussion amongst our youth here.

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