by Lois Lowry (Book Report by John Reasoner)
The Giver takes place at a point in the distant future in a society that has removed all pain, suffering, war, animals, and color. At the age of twelve, all of the children in the community receive their assignments for what their job will be as adults. Unlike his fellow Twelves, Jonas is selected instead of assigned a task. He is chosen to become the next Receiver of Memory. Jonas then trains for this position with the mysterious Receiver, who over time shares with the young boy all of his memories of a time when emotions good and bad weren't controlled by special pills and all decisions weren't made by a committee. After the Receiver gives away some memories to Jonas, he tells the boy that he is now the Receiver and that Jonas should call him the Giver. Jonas then begins to see the flaws in the community and plots with the Giver to find a way out.
The Giver has long been a favorite book of mine since I first read it three years ago. I thought that it was a great, short, and intense novel about the preciousness of individuality and choice. I love how things that we recognize today are described as if they were new not just to Jonas, but to the reader as well. An example of this is when the author describes the comfort objects of Jonas and his sister: "But her father had already gone to the shelf and taken down the stuffed elephant which was kept there. Many of the comfort objects, like Lily's, were soft, stuffed, imaginary creatures. Jonas's had been called a bear." I also like how characters do things that we would consider morally wrong today (such as the "releasings") without knowing all they are doing. I think this accurately depicts what an over-controlling society would be like for us.
I think anyone that would give this book a chance would really enjoy it like I did. I especially recommend it to fans of The Hunger Games because of the Dystopian/Utopian society that it takes place in.