Publication Date: April 26th, 1993
Series Status: The Giver Quartet #1
Format and Source: Paperback, Borrowed
Rating: 5 out of 5
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The haunting story centers on Jonas who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.
This is an outstanding book. It’s one of those books which makes you happy you live in the world you do. This book is set in a world where everything is strategically done with such precise order that nobody questions it as the outcomes are complete peace and tranquility. Each person born was chosen to be born, and their development happens at a set pace. Then, when they reach their 12th year, they receive their ‘allotment’ (job) which was chosen specifically for them. Even couples are are put together by the council, and then, if they do want a child, they must apply for that two before one is given to them. At the end of their lives, when they are old, a celebration is held and then they are released.
This book follows the growth of a boy who is similar to all his classmates in the respect that he follows the rules and does not question them. But, at his ceremony for 12’s he is told he is to become ‘the Receiver’. He is to gain the memories of the world before it became structured, the world we ourselves are currently living in”. Through this the veil is lifted from his eyes and he sees the world how it really is. He sees what truly happens when people are ‘released’ and experiences things he never knew existed.
This is a tale of a boy who grows into man, leaving his picturesque and faultless version of the world behind him through gaining knowledge. This reminds me of the Paramore song Brick by Boring Brick as it is about a child realising their dreams and fairy tales were mere figments of their imagination, and that the real world is a lot darker and scarier than they ever thought. This book is also a reminder that ignorance is bliss as, those in the book who never thought to have even questioned the order of things, are the most content with their lives. Yet, by expanding his knowledge of the world he has gained experiences and emotions they wouldn’t even know to dream of. This could make him happier than they ever could be.
This book is so cleverly written as it portrays the naivety of a child spectacularly, especially by not adding small details which really do make the book. It will also cause you to question so many things: what is perfection? What is true happiness? Is it better to be ignorant and content, or knowledgeable with the possibility of happiness, but know what it is to suffer?
I really cannot recommend this book enough.