This book was my re-entry (after a short hiatus) into the world of written media. Much acclaimed, and also long on my list in Netflix, I decided to give it a read. Yes, I was apprehensive when I had to go into the children’s section in between a toddlers’ workshop to get the book, but I guess it turned out fine.
The Giver is one of Lois Lowry’s most famous novels and gained much more fandom after it was made into a movie. Though I am yet to watch the movie, the book in itself is a pleasure. Set in sometime in the future where ‘sameness’ rules the world, the book explores the relationship between a giver and a receiver of memories. In this new (rather robotic world) colours are absent and feelings and food and life is rather regulated. Funnily, ‘precision of language’ is a big thing, something we could use today too (I’ll miss hyperboles though). The family units are formed through an application process and children are given to parents. Feelings of any kind are largely absent as are the pleasures of music, colours, etc. When children turn 12, they are sorted and given their future professions, reinstating the fact that choice is an absent luxury in this society. Jonas, a new 12, gets the prestigious assignment of being the next ‘receiver of memories’. Through a series of transmissions, the former receiver transfers the memories of the-world-that-was to Jonas; more like a human library of memories. As the training nears a year, they both realise that the current system needs to be changed. They plan an escape to release the memories back to the people- cause a kink in the sameness.
The book’s ending has caused a long discussion for sometime now. While some believe in the pessimistic end, I would like to believe in the warm and fuzzy end that the author indicates. I truly think that they make it alive and are rescued by the family in the cabin. As for proof, I think the fact that Jonas hears music, something that he has no memory of, implies that it was actually happening. Moreover, the clear indication of it being christmas (’tis the time for miracles) makes it more probable that the end is optimistic.
The book is a nice read. I like parallel society and futuristic novels, so, it was right down my alley. Frankly, I would have liked a bit more content and plot twists, but, given that it’s a children’s novel, I’ll not complain. Pick it up and give it a read. I hope the movie is good.
PS- let me know in the comments what was your interpretation of the end.