Review: The Giver

The Giver
The Giver by Lois Lowry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lowry uses passive voice to capture the sense of utopic but emotionless life experienced by the inhabitants of the community, and the absolute equality of all; and combines it with active voice to convey the confusion, struggles and choices her main character Jonas faces in his dystopic view. It’s a magic mix and the result is a compelling page-turner. Her use of third person instead of the more common first person for this genre is an effective way to paint Jonas’s journey.

While the setup and world-building takes about a third of the story, it’s justifiable; there was a lot to convey, and Lowry did it perfectly. And from there, the story rushes like a sled ride, gathering momentum and hurtling to the conclusion (which, by the way, is a perfect answer to the ambiguous questions Jonas faces).

This is a Fahrenheit 451 or a Brave New World for Young Adults that delivers a message that may be even truer today than when it was written. What emotion is there for teenagers to feel if everything was provided for them, if everyone won prizes for everything they ever entered in school, if the generations above them don’t understand them?

No wonder this is required reading or on Reading Challenge lists in so many schools!

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