The Giver by Lois Lowry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Summary: This haunting story centers on Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he's given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.
I'm glad I've finally got around to reading this one and I'm fairly sure that were I in the intended age bracket for this book, I'd have loved it. While I quite liked the ideas set forth in the story, I found the characters flat, the world-building minimal and the story woefully short of actual story. Ultimately, this made for a somewhat dissatisfying read but I don't think it's a problem for the work, I know it's me as a reader. I always want to know how we got to these places of extremes in dystopian stories and more often than not, it's not answered or glossed over, and such is the case here as well. "Back and back and back" just doesn't do it for me. I also would have liked some sort of explanation of the "how" of the transmission of memories. I went back and forth on if color had actually been eradicated or the whole society had been engineered to be colorblind but then there's still no explanation for Jonas nor the Giver. I don't know how this place works or why and that makes it a little less meaningful to me.
I think this would be a wonderful introduction to children to ideas of utopia/dystopia and a great springboard for captivating discussions on all manner of things. This very much felt like the broad strokes with the exception of some very specific & exceptionally well done instances in the last quarter of the book. Again, for the intended audience, I think this is actually a 4 star read or possibly higher but for me, based solely on what is written, I liked it and so it's a 3 star read.
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