Jonas lives in a world that he initially believes to be perfect. His world consists of “sameness “among individuals, everyone follows the commands, and everything is in order. Each child is given equal opportunities, and the society functions as a whole. Each child’s is given equal opportunity; birthed by birth mothers who are chosen for the task. A child is given their name upon adoption, a name chosen by the government. Before adoption they are raised by “nurtures” and referred to by a number. Parents are to request a child, and the government must approve. At the age of seven, a child is given a front-button jacket, by eight; a child is no longer allowed to have a comfort object, by nine they are issued a bicycle, at twelve they’re selected for their future occupations. When Jonas is skipped during the selection process he doesn’t understand what could have happened. The government never makes mistakes, and everyone notices that Jonas’s number was not called. He is shocked to find out that he will be the new “Receiver,” a job that is given to only one person. An honorable position that he finds out is most painful. The Receiver is chosen by the current Giver and must apprentice. As the Giver passes on memories to Jonas, he becomes the sole person to remember. These memories are to be given to one person who is to warn against past mistakes. The Giver is very knowledgeable and the community is saved from the burden of horrific historical mistakes. The Giver begins to feel lightened, while Jonas begins to have a heavy burden cast upon him. Jonas must remain brave and courageous but he is beginning to question how his society is run.
The Giver was a very good read, but it is not my favorite. I really liked the concept of the book, but it didn’t feel as if the world was built well enough for me. The book was short, but felt like it dragged on in sections. I think it is definitely a book you will need to read on your own. At this point I’ve read a lot of dystopian novels, and this particular book didn’t live up to my expectations. I think it would have been better had I read it when I was younger, and these current Young Adult dystopian novels weren’t around. I think the book brings up relevant issues, and leaves room for a lot of discussion. I do think this book would appeal more to younger audience, possible pre-teens. The world is less complex but written to cause readers to think. I do find this world, very similar to Matched by Ally Condie. I really enjoyed Matched but the similarities were hard to ignore. I’ll have to discuss this further when I review Matched.