Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lois Lowry's "The Giver" - Book Review by Robert Steven Mack

We live in a very chaotic world that is constantly changing. And although not all the changes are necessary to a decent and content life, we have adapted ourselves to these changes in such a way that it would be impossible to live without them. What would our life be without x-box and wii…or that futuristic tiny little device call the i-phone? Even television which we have had for more than 60 years has become such an integral part of our lives that people would go crazy if they did not have it. I know I would! Yet, despite all those high-tech gadgets and new things that are supposed to make our life better, nevertheless more new gadgets do not necessarily equate with more knowledge. Still it is not our fault. Most of us have lived with high-tech gadgets most of our life.

Would you care a damn if for as long as you can remember citizens were not allowed to have books? Reading is a source of knowledge. Isn’t it amazing that through all the turmoil and greed, we still have music and color and even the things that have for a long time brought humans the ability to destroy themselves. These things are called emotions: love, hatred, fear, happiness, and pain. Would we live better in a world without color and music? In a very orderly world without emotions and pain were each of us has their own chosen place in the world? The answer is probably “yes.” Still, if you knew what lies beyond it, it can be a hell of a rotten way to live.

“Number the Stars author,” Lois Lowry thought-provoking Newberry Award-winning book "The Giver" is about a boy named Jonas who lives in a futuristic time and place where physical appearance almost never varies. He lives in a world of no color or emotions; nor pain, nor suffering or hunger. It is very orderly world of no choices. Everyone has a certain place in the community. Their mates, kins and jobs are chosen very carefully. And through different stages of childhood one gets more and more advancements. An eight year old, for example, gets a new jacket with pockets, signifying he is old enough to care for his own belongings; a nine gets a bike. A girl of ten would lose her braids and a boy ten would get a manly hair cut. The ceremony of the 12s was the ceremony where they would get their jobs which they would carry all through adulthood.

Jonas waited anxiously for his turn, not expecting anything special. It turned out that he was selected for the greatest job of them all: the Receiver of Memory. He would receive training from a man who calls himself the Giver. He alone holds the memories of the world, suffering and pain and happiness and love. And Jonas soon begins to question the way he has been living all his life: an orderly colorless straight-forward life against love and music and color. He wants a life where you may choose your own future - which is exactly what he does.

“The Giver” is an extremely well-written book you'll remember for years to come. The Giver is the ideal book to anyone who can see beyond. When I first started reading the book I expected a good book but not unlike any other that I had read. And when I started to notice the weird ways of life Jona’s friends and family had, I began to question my first assumption. After reading some more, I wondered whether I would ever put the book down. I did... eventually. Also I was glad to know that the Giver was the first book in a loose trilogy that took place in the same time period. For those who want to know, the books that follow are “Gathering Blue” and “Messenger,” both of which I shall look for!

Book Rating on a scale from 1-100: Robert Steven Mack - 100

Copyright 2010 by Robert Steven Mack