Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Giver

by Lois Lowry

This is an odd little science fiction tale that was included in my daughter's curriculum. It's set in a future dystopia, where everything is controlled and orderly. Jonas is approaching his twelfth birthday, when he will begin his apprenticeship for his life's career. While some children have a pretty good idea which role they will be assigned, Jonas is in the dark. He has done well in a number of areas of schooling and volunteer work, but there's none in which he shines. When his birthday/assignment ceremony arrives, he is given the special role of Receiver of Memories. When Jonas' society was transformed, the leaders tried to eliminate as many of the unpleasantries of life as they could. This meant, of course, suppressing the memory of those unpleasant things, as well as some of the things like individuality and love which, while not unpleasant in themselves, might disrupt the serenity of the ordered society. But since sometimes such information can be useful, one person--the Receiver of Memories--is chosen to safeguard them until the time they may be needed. The curent receiver is aged and now Jonas begins the process of taking his place.

The book starts slowly, giving ample time for the reader to discover Jonas' world. The story didn't unfold as I expected, so I have to give kudos to Ms. Lowry for that. But I have to say that I didn't care for the ending, finding it to be a bit too ambiguous for my taste.

But don't take my word for it--check it out for yourself.
LibraryThing link


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