Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Giver

by Lois Lowry

In helping my friend move, we came across this book in her many boxes. I mentioned that I never read it, and immediately it was thrust into my hands with the order to not return it until it had been read cover to cover. Laughing, I shrugged, and threw it into my purse.

A small, thin novel, I read it within three days (I do have a life...really...). The world of "The Giver" is simple and easy, no choices to be made, no pain to be felt, everything is the same. So much so that there's not even any color to the world so there can be no distinction between anything. Once we learn the awful, terrible truth along with Jonas, it comes as a shock and makes us realize why this isn't such a good thing.

Once again, a novel which makes me think, which I love. Individuality, choices, decisions we make, it's true, they could lead to war and violence and crime. But what do we lose in the process? Is relinquishing control to people who supposedly know better really a good idea? It makes me very grateful for the world as it is now, despite its problems; I enjoy feeling happiness and love, and I enjoy making decisions for myself, even if they are the wrong ones.

I will admit, one thing I wouldn't mind from that community is someone assigning me a job; I've had trouble doing that for myself and finding something I enjoy. But even then I'd feel sort of like a robot...program me for the correct job and I will make the correct motions, no questions asked. Even if part of that program is something unforgivable.

Ms Lowry did a great job in creating a community of people who are all stoic and sheep-like while still making them feel realistic, like this could truly happen in the not-so-distant future. It's a little frightening. Can you imagine apologizing for every tiny little transgression? Goodness, nothing would ever get done! ;)

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