My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Current Goodreads rating 4.11
Jonas' world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for It Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.
So, I read this because my best friend loves it. And... because the movie comes out really soon. It has a promising cast, and I might be fairly attracted to Brenton Thwaites.
Originally, I read this when I was in 5th or 6th grade. I absolutely hated it. Yet, reading The Giver now, I have such a greater appreciation for it. This is not a children book. the writing is juvenile, so it is marketed toward 12+, but the themes are very adult. May I be so bold as to say that this is among one of the first dystopian novels? I have nothing to support that claim, but I do know this: The Giver came out before The Hunger Games which came out before Divergent. The Giver and all of these books challenge psychological debates about the relationship between freedom and happiness.
Can you be happy if you give up all your freedom?
Some criticism: I was the same age as Jonas is in the novel when I read this book. I realize that Jonas was precocious; he had to be to be selected as Receiver, but the rest of us at 12 years old are not aware, for the most part, of the world's evils, its imperfections. For this reason, I dont think this should have been a kid's book. I didn't feel that Jonas is relatable at all for kids.
I fully support the changes between the film and book that I've observed from the movie trailers and cast interviews.
1. Jonas and his friends are older.
2. There are action scenes! (I found myself a little bored while reading the book.)
3. Jonas' friends have larger roles (The book is pretty short, so things like characters were expanded to make the movie long enough.)
Overall feelings: I liked it, but not nearly as much as other people have. It was a quickie (because of its tiny nature) with not enough excitement. However, it evokes some interesting philosophical questions. I will be reading the rest of The Giver Quartet because I want to finish what I started, and they are easy to read.