The Giver is a modern dystopian novel which, to me, came as a disappointment to all those true modern classics that created the genre, such as Brave New World, George Orwell, and A Clockwork Orange. Due to the relative shortness of the book (c. 190 pages), I felt that the beginning, world building was too much of a lesson. It was too much information in so little space to fully enjoy it. Everything that happens before the Twelve Year Ceremony is only meant to paint the picture, which is understandable, but could have contained some events.
A brief sketch: the members of the commune are constantly medicated. They don't get to experience pain (and therefore don't know what it means and have a low threshold for it), they take daily pills to suppress lust, desire and love. The remaining emotions are rationalised through daily "sharing" moments. The commune has little colour variation, which has led to the people to have become colour-blind. It doesn't take long for the reader to get the sense that life has become too main-streamed, too coordinated. The family units are created by assigning spouses, who can then apply for up to two children. Food is delivered, people are assigned jobs. No choices.
The constant thing that is overshadowing this "utopia" are the "Releases". The old people are released, some babies are released. You get the picture. The useless, unproductive are "released". It therefore comes as no shock to find out, along with Jonas, that these releases are killings/euthanasias/suicides. It is unrealistic that people do not think about where these babies go to when they are released out of the commune. It's not like they could survive on their own.
This book is predictable and boring at times, paying too much attention to those memories of hunger, war, and happiness. It is too moralistic and the author seems to forget that we are not medicated and, therefore, familiar with those emotions (or aware of) and needn't be told in that much detail. Creative Writing rule number one: Show, don't tell. And to top it of, the escape is quite monotonous (like the rest of the book) and the ending is too much of a cliché. In fact, the ending is pretty much what you want it to be, an open end. All in all, I will not be reading the sequel any time soon.
|Original title:||The Giver (The Giver Quartet, #1)|
|Edition:||Ebook (Houghton Mifflin, 2000)|
|Read:||29 - 31 July 2013|
|Amazon USA||Amazon UK|
|Book Depository USA||Book Depository UK|
|Abebooks USA||Abebooks UK|