Friday, August 22, 2014

Quick Re-Read: The Giver

Two book posts in a row? Is this girl nuts? It may seem slightly over-achieving, but not when I picked up Lois Lowry's The Giver for a second time. I got my hands on this small paperback in middle school and dreaded the read because its sole purpose was for summer curriculum. We were forced into this selection as we would field discussions and quizzes in class come September. But The Giver was different then as it is now. It was probably one of the first books I ever completed for school and actually enjoyed. To read in a second run was even better - I literally opened to the first page on Monday and finished last night.

Most of you I'm sure know that the movie came out on 8/15. I recently joined a book club and this was on our list. Eager to see if I would remember anything, I dove in quickly and was shocked that I had no true recollection of the plot. The story takes place in a utopian world where there is no pain, no feeling, no emotion. Lowry refers to this living state as Sameness. The communities are regulated by a council with organization so superior that it is the norm. The main character, Jonas, is about to learn his fate when his occupation is assigned to him as "the Receiver" during the ceremony of the Twelves (twelve-year-olds). I guess in this society, they believe you are an adult at the young age of twelve. Could you imagine what life would be like if your fate was handed to you at twelve? I couldn't even make a mature decision of my own at the age of 21, let alone 12! As the Receiver, Jonas bears the burden of taking in all memories of the past from the previous Receiver, now known as the Giver (how original). He witness the "before Sameness" when things were much different. The good memories and the bad. He discovers what life could really offer and questions the only state he has ever known.

Like I said when reviewing Gone Girl, I really don't want to give too much up. It would be silly to spoil such a quick and interesting read. I highly recommend this for anyone, even if reading isn't your thing. 180 pages goes really fast (not to mention the book is tiny in size). I am also interested to see how they spin this in the movie - like most movies they never compare to the actual novel. I mean, Taylor Swift is in the movie after all!

I do not regret my decision on re-reading The Giver. I am actually surprised that they chose this book for a 6th grade summer read, because it was graphic at times and explored topics that I probably wasn't ready to face as a young adult. It made much more sense reading now and I really hope the movie doesn't spoil the true message behind the tale.

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