Synopsis - Jonas' world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.
For the last few months, I have been interacting with Caragh and Brianna from Loaded Shelves and endorsed them as being a blog that all readers from different walks of life can enjoy. I am incredibly honored to be able to contribute book reviews to their blog, for reading is one thing I thoroughly enjoy to do. I am Josh Caporale and I created my blog, Caponomics, back in March 2011. Caponomics began as a column in my high school newsletter. After graduation, I briefly had a column with the same name before I took my high school newsletter editor's advice and created a blog. I am a growing blog that has 19 followers, over 200 posts, and over 22,000 page views, holding high hope that at some point in time, I can surpass these numbers. The topics I cover on my blog include politics, music, film, television, sports, food, nostalgia, and most importantly... books and literature. While there isn't a direct concentration, my absolute passion lies in writing and reading and I hope that some day, I become a successful writer who writes in the realm of horror, sci-fi, speculative, or just situation fiction ("what if").
I have given you enough about my story and should move forward with a story far more excellent of my own: or should I call it a warning? In the American curriculum, Lois Lowry's The Giver is seen as a staple in some way, shape, or form. Since I went to private school, I did not have the opportunity to read it. Thankfully, when I took a Young Adult Literature class this semester, this was one of the books we read and it just so happened my group and I presented this book to the class. When I say that The Giver is a warning, I mean we are taking visible steps toward a world that is very much similar to this novel. The fact that somebody is possessing a power like "The Giver" would probably come in the form of technology, such as a ring that plays a role equivalent to a computer flash drive, but the nature of possessing memory will become nearly obsolete, something we have seen multiple times in literature.
The Giver follows a boy named Jonas who will be entering his twelfth year. During this point in time, individuals are assigned a role in society. Yes, this is a society that provides just about no freedom to its citizens. Citizens are assigned a role, their spouses are chosen from them based off of their personality and common interests like they're on Match.com, they request children that they receive if they successfully survive their first year, and they are required to share their dreams with one another. There are been plenty of arguments in futuristic societies in which children will not be naturally born, but instead in test tubes or in laboratories. This seems to be that kind of society, for the only individuals that can be seen naked are babies (before their first year) and older people living in the "House of Old." Jonas lives with his father, who is a nurturer that cares for babies, his mother, who worked for the Department of Justice, his sister, Lily, who is years younger, and Gabriel, who is a baby that Jonas' dad is raising until he turns one and is either adopted by a family or released if he does not meet their standards.
Jonas is the last one called during the ceremony, for he is selected to be the next Receiver. This individual eventually becomes the subject that holds the memories of society from generations ago. This requires meetings with "The Giver," who is an older looking man that possesses the memory from generations ago in which he passes onto Jonas by rubbing his back. Of course, this is a relatively strange method that will catch some attention, but the intent is to use this in order to deliver memories. Through these meetings, Jonas learns about a society of snow and sunshine, relief and pain, as well as the memory of color. Unfortunately, this society has converted to that of "sameness" (ohhhhhh boy, does that look familiar???), in which the weather is always the same year round, people don't end up in situations in which they hurt (and if they are, they just take a pill), and this society did away with color, because they wanted everyone to look as identical as possible so no one would complain. Jonas learns the secrets behind what really happens during release and why the last person who took on the role of Receiver surrendered the position and demanded a release. This all leads to a climatic result that turns into something that's incredibly open-ended. At the same time, these connections are tied in some way in the three sequels: Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.
The Giver is downright brilliant! It delivers a powerful message about how a futuristic utopia is relatively impossible, even if the world around us supports such a notion. At the same time, we are taking steps further toward living in such a society. The Giver has elements of *SKIP THIS SEGMENT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO CONSUME A SPOILER* human euthanasia *YOU MAY CONTINUE* Totalitarianism, climate change (solved with climate control), and rebellion against such a controlling society, something we see through plenty of leaders throughout history. The purpose of a work is that it delivers a message, often originating as a thought in someone's head, that will keep the reader thinking long after the last words have been read. That is where The Giver succeeds best and it's rightfully taught in schools, even when schools have made an effort to engage in the inappropriate practice of censoring it. The Giver should be seen as a warning to anyone that believes in the government tending to their everyday needs, for that will be a case in which freedom will become obsolete and to see freedom become obsolete is the biggest sin that society has to offer.