First of all…WHAT. WHY HAVE I NOT APPRECIATED THIS BOOK UNTIL NOW? Seriously though, I haven’t read The Giver since middle school or so. I only remember loving it even though I only read it once. Now they tell me that it’s part of a (loose) quartet? And that I’ve already read the second book? And that The Giver is pretty darn awesome?!
It’s a relatively short book and I finished it in less than two days because I was so enchanted by it, but it’s a classic nonetheless. This was the first dystopian novel that I had ever read and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that it inspired other dystopian novels like The Hunger Games trilogy or the Divergent series. The book starts off with the everyday life of Jonas, an Eleven apprehensively awaiting his Twelve ceremony where he’ll get his Assignment, basically his career. He lives in a society completely controlled by the powers that be such that everything is the same and everything is ideal. Every family unit consists of a man, woman, boy, and girl, and rules are enforced so that the society is always orderly. There is no room for failure or differences, only Sameness.
We follow Jonas to his Twelve ceremony where he is selected to be the next Receiver, the keeper of the memories of the past. As he goes into training with the current Receiver, Jonas receives these past memories and learns the idea of love, warmth, pain, and loneliness. With this knowledge, he no longer sees life worth living in his current society and seeks to escape. There is, of course, more to the story, but I don’t want to spoil it all if you haven’t read it yet (and you definitely should).
As can be guessed by the fact that I finished this book in less than two days, I loved The Giver. It’s a book that kept me interested throughout, and I loved seeing how Jonas grew up and became more knowledgable of the world before him (basically, our world today). Also, it’s also part of a loose quartet with Gathering Blue and two other books that Lowry recently wrote, Messenger and Son. Each of the four books is in the same universe, only the timing is different. I’m immensely looking forward to finishing out the series, so pardon me while I binge-read the remaining three books.
EDIT: (March 25, 2015)
I actually finished the whole quartet a while ago. I don’t remember everything, but I do remember that it was AWESOME. As you go through the rest of the series, you’ll find a very obvious conflict between good and evil. It’s loosely there in The Giver and Gathering Blue but the conflict intensifies in The Messenger and Son. I don’t want to give everything away, bu I will say that Lowry did quite an amazing job in tying the universes of Jonas and Kira together. Please, I implore, go and read this series, your childhood will thank you.