I feel I need to disclaim this right away with “a smidgen of spoilers ahead.” Cheers.
Synopsis: Jonas’s world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.
Add it to your TBR list: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3636.The_Giver
Who is the giver? It would seem that the title would have something to do with the main character but in reading it I learned that the giver refers to a secondary character in the book. At first I thought, who gives a crap about the giver? Then I realized that the receiver would eventually become the giver as the roles evolved and I really started to pay attention. How was the giver/receiver chosen? For a people that thrive in the sameness why do they even need a giver/receiver to begin with? That thought was the most forthcoming as I read this book. Because the giver/receiver is a questioner, someone capable of lying, someone who can empathize with the past and see through the sameness in a way that in others would be questionable or even punished. He was set up to fail because he didn’t have the same restrictions that everyone else had, even if he had no real power to change anything. Maybe that is the real question. How can you change or help a people that don’t want to be helped, what should you do in this situation? I thought the answer would be fairly obvious. He would give the memories away. But you can’t give them away to everyone at the same time unless you get released or go beyond the boundaries of the village.
Death or exile. Which would you chose?
I like the subtlety of the book and how the author allows the reader to come to their own conclusions in the sense of what you feel should be right and wrong. I expected a lot of action. A clear definition or right and wrong, I don’t know why I thought that. There was no tangible right and wrong, it just was. It was the system itself. There was no authority figure antagonizing Jonas. It was about him making his own choice. It became less about the external and more about the internal and how people have so much fear in them that they don’t want differences and they want everything to be the same. What he felt was right versus what he was taught was right. I was hoping that Jonas was going to be able to give all the memories away so the people would be able to have them. All he had known he found out was a lie and I think the turning point was when they released the twin. Sidenote: it seemed the giver was waiting for Jonas to come to that conclusion on his own without influencing him in any way. That took me while to get cause I can be dense.
I still have a lot of thoughts running through my mind, banned books hold a very protected place in my heart. I don’t think the government should get to choose what we can see and hear and read. This book has parallels of real life in it because the government does make a lot of our choices in that aspect. Censorship is a thin line to navigate.
Honestly I’m still processing.