Jonah is an eleven, almost twelve, year old boy who lives in a society where everyone essentially the same. It is a world unlike any on our planet, as no one feels pain, the effects of poverty, hunger. But, the people in this society do not have the opportunity to experience love (mainly romantic and sexual love) or free will. A group of elders choose a profession for each person, as well as life mates and place children in homes after much consideration.
At the yearly “Ceremony of Twelve,” where each child is assigned their profession assignment, Jonah is given the honor of being the new Receiver of Memory. He will obtain memories from the current Receiver of Memory (who is now called “The Giver”) and hold these within himself, sharing when asked by the community’s elders as they contemplate various issues at hand.
As Jonah receives these memories from generations before him, he realizes that his society is missing out on so much and realizes grim truths about his own society. In the captivating climax, Jonah kidnaps a young child who is scheduled to be “released” and attempts to escape.
What I Thought: Wow. This book absolutely floored me and spoke to my inner core. How lucky we are to live in a society with free will, the freedom of choice, and a world full of different and exciting things that we can choose to discover. We can feel, we experience color, we can love and even feel pain. We can cherish our memories.
If you want to read a book that will change your life, The Giver is for you.
This book is highly acclaimed: it is the winner of the 1996 Newbery Medal, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, ALA Notable Children's Book, Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book, and School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, just to name a few.
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