Over the holidays I was able to re-read and finish The Giver, a very successful middle grade novel by Lois Lowry. Hardly needing much of an introduction, the story concerns a young MC named Jonas, who lives in a relatively dystopian society. The society assigns roles to its members at the early age of twelve, and Jonas is given the unique role of becoming the Receiver of society’s memories. This is not an easy role, needless to say, and he struggles at it.
I ended up giving this book a three on Goodreads, because even though I liked it a lot long ago, sadly this time around it didn’t impress me much. The society’s ordered ways were too stifling to allow Jonas to develop into an interesting lead character. Everything was just so programmed, forcing adults to behave in predictable ways in a world in which there is no emotion or color. A romance is hinted at but never developed, at least in this first installment. It all resulted in me not developing any connection with the story’s main events or characters, hence my overall disappointment.
However this is not to say The Giver is a bad book. It is actually entertaining and imaginative in ways, and my lackluster response to it may be due to the fact that I read the book with too much of an adult mindset. Also because it was a nostalgic read, I may have gone into it with too many expectations that sadly were not fulfilled. The book is truly written for a youthful audience, and I imagine that young readers will respond favorably to Jonas’s bleak world, and his anxieties regarding being assigned a lifelong duty at a very young age. This probably is what underlies the book’s success.