The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver
Lois Lowry

This post is long overdue by about five or so months. I was too busy last year to come up with something resembling a post about this after I finished reading it. Let's hope I remember my feelings now that I'm finally posting. Hahaha!

This is a widely read book. It's sometime into the future and a seemingly perfect community is presented to us where everyone has a distinct place in the society, everyone living equally so to speak. Cliches like "Keeping up with the Joneses" don't apply because hey, in this future nobody seems to be above everyone else and it's perfectly normal to be that way.

Twelve-year old Jonas was given the important task of being the Receiver of Memories, a job that only the adults have heard of and none of the younger ones are familiar with. It is only much later when he realized why he was selected for such job.

The present Receiver of Memories, also called The Giver, is already old and having the same eyes as Jonas. Jonas was startled to find out that the seemingly perfect community is not what it looks like. The everyday normality of community life is shattered in the eyes of Jonas when the Giver passed on to him the memories of life lived previously - of colors and shapes, of snow and summer, of pain and love - and the truth about the community even. After learning much from the Giver, Jonas plotted his escape from the community. But escaping the community is an unpardonable crime.

This much is obvious, those who have read The Giver will come out of the experience shaken. It is that powerful. Lowry juxtaposes an unfeeling future to a painful past. A future that is so afraid of diversity it is willing to sacrifice what makes us human so we could live perfectly normal good lives. And there is something wrong with having a perfectly normal good life. Free will is taken out of the community and only controlled by a chosen few, those behind the scenes who believed that it is better to live a gray, dull life that is uneventful than risk pain. The pain that caused wars, the pain that kills. And with that you also take out the joys and laughters. Because you can't simply take away pain without taking away the pleasures. So no laughter and tears. No feelings. Real, human feelings at least.

And yet I think there are people out there who would rather have the seemingly perfect community in this book. I mean who wouldn't want not to keep up with the Joneses, right? But it's also human nature to want what we don't have. Or to be different for that matter. Oh well, that's just one aspect of discourse. There are many more topics for further conversations about this book which I think should be read by everyone.

A future world without music is not for me. Or that without colors. I may live a dull, uneventful life but I'd rather have the option to feel than live in that future community. That's just me. What about you?