Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Giver

Reading isn't just reading for me, it isn't something I do just to make my vocabulary better or make me understand something. For me, a book is an outlet, a way to read and make yourself part of a book whether it be fictional or not. 

I recently read a book called 'The Giver' by Lois Lowry which has also been made into a motion picture. The book itself was rather good! I found that the characters were very well described and the lives of the characters were very well developed throughout the course of the book.

The book is about an 11 year old boy, Jonas who lives in a world where they have eliminated all pain, fear, hatred and war. It is a world where no hurt can come. It is a world where there is a strict routine with no one knowing any different. We as a human race know our age because we celebrate birthdays, but in this world they celebrate their birthdays with the whole of their community who share the same age. Everyone has the same birthday and everyone gets the same presents. The aim is to show that at each age you should get one thing that makes you grow as a person. Whether that be a bike at 9, because at 9 you are able to learn and teach yourself. Or at 6 when you get a button up cardigan instead of a jumper because it is a time where you are able to dress yourself without difficulty. 

To us that seems ridiculous that every child gets treated the same with the same rules and the same outcome. Although, when they reach 10 they are able to volunteer at different work places,  by volunteering they get to know what they like and dislike.

Not only do the society eliminate pain etc, they eliminate choice, at age 12,  the society decides what each 12 year old will do for the rest of their life. The society chooses this by observing the children when they volunteer in each work place. Their job is chosen based on their best abilities and interests. 

I think the main and most complicated part of this book is that there is a lot of hidden secrets in it. Instead of the way we know babies are made, a birthmother births them and then the baby is sent to the nurturing centre where they are looked after until they can be sent off to a family, but only when the baby is healthy enough. Jonas' dad works at the nurturing centre and is high up. There is a baby named Gabriel who is not getting healthy enough to be assigned to a family, so Jonas' dad takes Gabriel home to take extra care of him so that he can get better faster.

The ceremony for all twelves is coming up and Jonas is feeling especially nervous. Unlike all his other friends who get assigned to the nurturing centre or the old peoples home, Jonas gets given a special job...the highly honoured, receiver of memory. 

As all twelves disperse to their new jobs, Jonas goes to his where he is trained by someone who Jonas must call The Giver. The Giver is the present receiver and must train Jonas and give all memories to him. All Jonas has ever known is very quickly gone as The Giver shows Jonas what sun is and what colour is. For in the book nothing is described with colour, because no one sees it; only Jonas sees it, this is because he is special and this is why he got chosen to be the receiver. 

Early on in the book, people are described to be 'released' from their controlled community. The community except from The Giver and the society know what this really means. Jonas thinks little of this until The Giver shows how Jonas' dad 'releasing' children from been poorly or not healthy enough. Release means death. And now that Jonas is receiving and understanding what things mean, death is something that scares him. Anger is built, war is understood and so is pain. Finally Jonas is the Giver and Jonas must show everyone in his community what lays behind those walls which they live in. 

Jonas tries to stay quiet to his family,  as he knows his father is a murderer and no one can be trusted except The Giver and himself. 

Jonas and The Giver set up a plan to escape the community and find 'Elsewhere' which is what is beyond the wall of their community. In hope to safe his community he must go ahead with the plan early morning. Later, Jonas' father explains how Gabriel is been released the next day. In hope to safe Gabriel and his community, Jonas sets off earlier than planned with his dads bicycle and enough food for himself and Gabriel. After days Jonas and Gabriel enter lands with colour, animals and changing weather but also danger, exhaustion and hunger. After nearly freezing to death, Jonas transmits memories of warmth to baby Gabriel. In Jonas' first memory, The Giver showed Jonas snow and fun with a sledge on a mountain. Jonas goes up a mountain, and there he finds the ledge like in his first transmitted memory. 

Jonas and Gabriel go down the mountain on the sledge, and there both of them hear music and joy from a lit up village. And they know for sure, there is something down there waiting for them. 


The book was a good read, I do think the ending was a little rushed, seen as Jonas' and Gabriel's hunger etc were so dragged out. But I suppose we can't have everything in a book! 


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