Goodreads synopsis: In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community’s Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1984 Newbery Medal winner, Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price.
The Giver is set in a future society which is at first presented as a utopia and gradually appears more and more dystopic, so could therefore be considered anti-utopian. The novel follows a boy named Jonas through the twelfth year of his life. Jonas’ society has eliminated pain and strife by converting to “Sameness”, a plan which has also eradicated emotional depth from their lives. Jonas is selected to inherit the position of “Receiver of Memory,” the person who stores all the memories of the time before Sameness, in case they are ever needed to aid in decisions that others lack the experience to make. As Jonas receives the memories from his predecessor—the “Giver”—he discovers how shallow his community’s life has become.
Unpopular opinion time! I didn’t like this book.
According to Goodreads and random book lists online, The Giver is known as one of the best books in the past 20 years, so I had a lot of high expectations.
If I had to use one word to describe The Giver, it would be weird. Children washing old people was weird, and the way The Giver gave memories to Jonas was weird. Was Jonas really aroused from washing that older woman in his dream? Bleh.
I enjoyed the idea, but not the story. The ending was also too abrupt. Had I read this in elementary or middle school when it was really popular, I probably would have enjoyed it more. Or maybe it’s just because I’m REALLY burned out on dystopia.
After reading the book, I watched the movie. I’m not a fan of the movie either. Please don’t chase me down with pitchforks.