"In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an old man about the true grief and joy of the real world."
The giver is written from the point of view of Jonas, an eleven year old boy living in a innovative society that has eliminated all pain, fear, war, and hatred. There is no prejudice, since everyone looks and acts basically the same, and there is very little competition. Everyone is unfailingly polite. The society has also eliminated choice; at the age of twelve every member of the community is assigned a job based on his or her abilities and interests. Citizens can apply for and be assigned compatible spouses, and each couple is assigned exactly two children each. The children are born to Birthmothers, who never see them, and spend their first year in a Nurturing Center with other babies, or “newchildren,” born that year. When their children are grown, family units dissolve and adults live together with Childless Adults until they are too old to function in the society.