The Giver was the first book that I thought of reading (rereading) when our professor told us to read a book and write a review about it for our midterm requirement in Philosophy. This book was made into a film last 2014.
The Giver is a story about a boy named Jonas who lives in a community free from pain, crime, cruelty, and all that stuff. At the start of the book, Jonas was still 11 years old, turning twelve in a few weeks. In their community, they celebrate a ceremony annually, in which every child from ages 1 to 12 walk onto the stage to receive something special. (e.g. Every year, all of the Nines will receive a bicycle; then Tens will receive their haircut; Elevens will receive new clothes; and Twelves will have an assignment job). So, in that ceremony, Jonas was about to turn Twelve, in which he will be assigned a job that he will train for and do for the rest of his life. The ceremony of the Twelves is the last ceremony; by this time, they will stop counting (of their ages). In this community, everything is chosen, from your parents, partner, children, and job. Came the ceremony of the Twelves, Jonas and his friends were nervous and excited at the same time. Jonas’s friend’s number was called onto the stage and was assigned as an Assistant Director of Recreation. So the numbers went on and on and by the time Jonas’ number was about to be called, the Chief Elder missed his number which made the whole community confused. By the end of the ceremony, the Chief Elder apologized for she made the whole community confused. She then called Jonas onto the stage and told everyone that he was selected to be the next Receiver of memories. The Chief Elder thanked Jonas for his childhood and the whole community congratulated him by chanting his name on and on.
Their community has been kept from all the negative things in life as well as the positive things. They were kept from seeing the beautiful aspects in life; kept from feeling pain; kept from feeling loved; and kept from seeing colors. But Jonas was different. He became the Receiver of memories in which he can see beyond and can feel pain and love. The Giver trained Jonas. He lets Jonas feel some of his memories; memories of happiness, sadness, cruelty, and more.
Throughout the book, Jonas’ father, a Nurturer, told them about a newborn child which sleeps soundly and wasn’t that healthy. So his father asked them if the child can stay on their dwelling every night. His father named the child Gabriel which is against the rules. Gabriel was about to be released Elsewhere but Jonas’ father asked for one more year for Gabriel to be healthy. One year later, when the Giver lets Jonas watch his father euthanizing a baby by injecting it with a needle in the head, (which in the book they call it ‘going elsewhere’) he lost his trust for his parents. He went home the next day to found out that Gabriel will be going Elsewhere as well, which is a bad thing for Jonas already knew what Elsewhere is. The day before that, the Giver and Jonas planned on leaving the community for everyone to give up ‘Sameness’, for everyone to feel the good and bad things in life.. Jonas asked the Giver to come with him but the Giver refused to go. So it was all set. But Jonas was forced to leave early because he found out that Gabriel will be going Elsewhere the next day. So now that Jonas was ready to go, he brought Gabriel for he cant afford to see his father euthanizing him with a needle. They left the community; they starved, felt cold, and they became sick. But Jonas didn’t give up for he can feel that something awaits them at the end of their journey.
I read this book last 2014, which I enjoyed. I liked Jonas’ character for he developed from being a scared boy to a boy willing to risk his future to save his community. For me, this book shows the path of growing up; at first we are scared to accept the new responsibilities in life, but soon, we will slowly get used to it. The part where Jonas lost his trust to his father is so important. It just shows that sometimes we need to defy the odds or the life which is set out for us. It is a symbol of growing from an innocent child to a mature and educated adult.
For me, their community limits the choices of individuals, removing happiness from their life. By leaving the community, it just shows that Jonas made a mature choice. It means that it is better to live a life that we would want to rather than following the life others want you to and never be happy.
While reading this book, I was thinking that what if our community is like this? Free from feeling pain and all the beautiful aspects in life. Wouldn’t that be great? If that happened, there would be no poverty, crime, injustice, and etc. But I thought about that deeply. If we wont feel those things, if our community is like theirs, are we even living at all? Our lives wont make any sense if that happened. Maybe we are feeling all those things for us to realize that we are lucky enough. For us to appreciate the things we already have; the aspects we already possess. This book tells us that when we are thrive to live a better life, we omit the things that really can bring happiness and hope in us. We are all so blessed to have the ability to choose what are we going to be in life. Without choices, there cannot be life-lessons. So, be happy and contented on what we have now.
I totally recommend this book to everyone who likes dystopian worlds. Or to everyone who just likes to think about life. This book is a children’s book which can be read by ay age for it has an interesting plot. And it is also a fast read which you can read for about 4 to 5 hours. Enjoy!