Jonas had always been content with the rigid nature of his community. A community that was devoid of color, choices and history thrived through their meticulous efforts to keep everyone in line. There was no love, no wrongs; rather everyone lived in utmost peace not knowing the thrills of uncertainty. Ritualistic practices naturalized in every family unit ensured that the thoughts, opinions and actions of individuals were as per the dictum of the Committee of Elders. But when Jonas is chosen to be the Receiver of Memory, a position of honor and prestige, he realizes the potential that mankind earlier had. He realizes how bleak and dreary their existence currently is. And so he begins to question all he has ever learnt, thereby wandering onto unfamiliar territories.
The Giver is a book that everyone should read. Even those who don’t like dystopian fiction. It reveals what our future could look like. It unearths possibilities of a life where there would be no pain, no war, no abuse, no poverty. And yet it succeeds in dissuading us from wanting such a peaceful life. Not if peace equals to having no memories. Definitely not if peace means not being able to name your own children or choose your own partners. Such is a world that the novel presents us. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it not because I liked the world it created but because it made me realize how petty our complains are sometimes. When faced with such horrendous laws and unfeeling people (as in the book), you automatically bloat with gratitude for the options and freedoms we all enjoy. Lois Lowry’s writing style is great and descriptive enough that we are able to visualize what she speaks of. It is very difficult to unlearn what you already know and describe it from a newfound perspective. But Lowry manages that perfectly well as we get the feeling that Jonas is indeed new to the concepts of snow, sunshine, love, color etc.
There are so many rules in the world constructed by the author that at times it was infuriating. The people in the book had all apparently opted for “Sameness”, i.e for everything to be uniform and hence repressing individuality or uniqueness of object or person. I found their concepts of “release” to be somewhat ridiculous. Surely, the separation and loss eventuated by release ought to be met with some grief. But there too people behaved almost robotic. The community has a multitude of Ceremonies, neither of which paralleled the joy humans can be open to. I wholeheartedly supported Jonas’ decisions in the end and felt that the climax, the resolution were all well fitting. This book makes you think and think again about your environment, your life and everything else. This being my first book of 2016, I am glad I picked it, for it was so wonderful. Even though its been tagged children’s fiction, there’s nothing extremely childish about it. Rather, it would be a good read for adults too. I recommend this book to all.
Ratings – 4 stars on 5.