Title: The Giver
Writers : Lois Lowry
My Rating: 3.5 on 5
After having thoroughly enjoyed The Hunger Games series and craving for more, I turned to Goodreads and other book forums for suggestions for similar books. The very first and most often mentioned was The Giver series. The blurb sounded interesting so off it went on my TBR list.
The Giver reveals a world where people are constantly watched and are expected to obey the rules set out for them. They are supplied with measured quantity of food and their lives are measured by how obedient they are. Jonas, a twelve year old, lives with his parents, Father and Mother, who are not his biological parents and his sister, Lily, with whom he does not share any blood relation. The children attend school, eat what is handed to them, volunteer at various places because that is the rule and at the end of their 11th academic year, they are assigned to work depending on their nature and interests. In one such assignment ceremony, Jonas is assigned to be “The Receiver” who has to receive memories, pleasant and painful, from the present Receiver who will now be called “The Giver”.
The book creates a world which appears perfect and utopian at the superficial level, but as the facts are revealed, we realize it is actually dystopian. There are women who are assigned to birthing whose job is to give birth to three babies in their lifetime and then move on to physical labor. Spouses are matched by the council who then watch the couple to see how compatible they are. The council decides when and how many kids the couple will have.
The book traces the life of Jonas and the twist in his life when he is chosen as The Receiver. His world is revealed to us through his eyes. As Jonas discovers bitter truths about his world, life, family, he realizes people are not what they seem they are.
Lowry’s world itself is interesting, but what I found lacking in the book is strong characters. Jonas and The Giver, the two central characters have some flesh, but not enough to connect with them emotionally. The supporting characters are so poorly sketched that they are just that: supporting characters. I will definitely read the rest of the books in the series, but wish I could connect better with Jonas and others.