The Giver by Lois Lowry 

★★★★☆ (4/5)

Incredible read. I’m not a fan of young-adult genre but I’m guessing when this book was published, “young-adult” wasn’t a genre category. The story caters to everyone with heavy thematic concerns especially regarding true human nature, our intrinsic desires for companionship and disorder. Society’s inherent weaknesses are not to be done away with, rather they must be managed. I’m reminded of a quote from A Wrinkle in Time “Like and Equal are not the same thing at all”.

Bizarrely, the movie version of the book is far too shallow to encompass the thematic gravity of the novel. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I’m dissuaded from reading or watching anything falling in the “young-adult” genre – the movie industry is largely to blame for this. They deliberately dumb down matters of substance to appeal to the younger generation with star-studded casts and storylines that never manage to go beyond sentimental love.

A selection of my favourite passages from the book

  • The front-buttoned jacket was the first sign of independence, the first very visible symbol of growing up. The bicycle, at Nine, would be the powerful emblem of moving gradually out into the community, away from the protective family unit
  • He was not starving, it was pointed out. He was hungry. No one in the community was starving, had ever been starving, would ever be starving. To say “starving” was to speak a lie. An unintentioned lie, of course. But the reason for precision of language was to ensure that unintentional lies were never uttered
  • Although he had through the memories learned about the pain of loss and loneliness, now he gained, too, an understanding of solitude and its joy.

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