Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Giver

The Giver, by Lois Lowry

One of the overwhelmingly popular genres of YA fiction at the moment is dystopian. Having loved classics like 1984, Brave New World and Watership Down (hey, anthropomorphic allegories count! Just look at Animal Farm), I thought I'd give some more a try.

Somehow, I'd missed out on this one during school and felt that, as one of the classic and original YA dystopias, I needed to give it a shot.

In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community's Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. -Plot summary borrowed from Amazon

I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed by this book. I understand that it is intended for a much younger reader than myself. Still, it seemed incredibly simplistic to me. For one thing, Lowry does not give many details about how the society has come to be, or how it really functions. Despite that I thought it was a great thought-provoker for younger/more reluctant readers, and provided some truly chilling scenes. One more quibble: the ending was open-ended and unsatisfactory. I know, I know, it's supposed to make the reader think. But, argh.

That being said, a movie adapatation is in the works and Jeff Bridges has stated that he would be interested in playing the Giver. After his zen-mentor gig in Tron: Legacy, I think he could pull it off.


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