Well hello there! This should have been posted a few days ago, but I had some complications with my tonsil surgery, so I had to postpone two exams and so on and so forth, I just finished today. Which feels fantastic! I would say I’ve officially finished my fourth year of university, but I’m taking a spring course, so I guess I can’t say that until July 2nd. I’m so glad to be done though, this semester was not fun.
Anyway, I finally got around to reading The Giver. I’ve known of this book since I was in elementary, but I’ve just never taken the time to find out what it was about. I’ve been pinning a lot of “Top 100 Books You Need To Read Before You Die” and “50 Best Books of All Time” lists on Pinterest, and The Giver is on all of them so I decided to give it a try. That being said, Wuthering Heights is on most of them too, and I couldn’t finish that one, so I probably shouldn’t put a lot of stock into whether I’m going to enjoy the books on these lists.
I think I read The Giver a little too fast, it’s one of those books that needs to be savoured, experienced slowly so you pick up on all the intricate details. For example, I never realized the world Jonah lived in had no colour until the Giver gave him memories of colour. And it didn’t occur to me that Jonas and Gabe died at the until a few hours after I finished reading. (Update: Apparently they don’t die, and this is made clear in the books that follow.) I’m also still confused as to exactly what the light eye colour had to do with the ability to receive memory. Was it ever explained? Help! I mean I suppose I could just Google it, but you guys are smart and I’m lazy.
I did really enjoy The Giver. The language was beautiful, the ideas were beautiful. My favourite quotes are going to follow, I love them mostly for the language Lowry uses and the insight that comes from 12 year old Jonas’ mind.
“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”
Oh Jonas, you are so eloquent.
“The life where nothing was ever unexpected. Or inconvenient. Or unusual. The life without colour, pain or past.”
I feel sorry for anyone who has to live in a world without colour, pain, or past. Which, I fear, is coming closer and closer to what we are living now. I understand that is the part of the whole point of the book, but it’s still frightening.
“I feel sorry for anyone who is in a place where he feels strange and stupid.”
The compassion Jonas has for others just goes straight to my heart. He is brave, kind, insightful, compassionate, open, and so much of what I aspire to be. And he’s twelve. I realize it sounds like I think he is a real person right now, but when I’m reading the characters are real. I’m pretty sure most of my fellow bibliophiles do too. Don’t judge us.
One of my favourite characters was Lilly, Jonas’ little sister. She just offers a little humour to an otherwise depressing story. The other aspect I really enjoyed was the idea of the age ceremonies and family units. The age ceremonies had everyone age at the same time. So all of the nine year olds become nine on the day of the ceremony, not their birthday. Each age ceremony has some sort of significance, like the nine year olds receive a bike to signify less dependence on their parents and becoming a larger part of the community. They also start volunteering hours in order to give back to the community. Twelves are assigned a career based on their skills and interests. It’s all very regulated, organized, and bland. Bland like the lack of colour, like the sameness that permeates every aspect of life in the community. This terrifies me, a life with no choices or spontaneity. When you get to thinking about it, it’s terrifying.
Okay, so now that I’ve got you all thinking about some sort of dystopian future with no colours and no choice and where young boys die to find a place he can live freely, I’m going to go look at rescue puppies. TTFN!