The Giver by Lois Lowry

Challenge 37 ~ “A book you’ve seen the movie of, but haven’t read.”


★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Certainly not the easiest of challenges for me – I usually like to read the book before I see the film – but, as I’ve discovered, there are many films I didn’t realise were even based on books. The Giver was one of those, and only one I ended up watching at a film night in fresher’s week. Still, I remembered there being an interesting premise, so I thought I’d give the book a go, and see how it spun out.

Reading the author’s note after finishing, Lowry discusses how many readers write to him on how the book has affected their lives, and I can see throughout how Lowry brings attention to the little things in life that we take for granted – colour and topography, for example. However, for me, it was the ending that I really connected with. Up to this point, The Giver had just been a strong MG read, oddly reminiscent of many YA trilogies I’ve read recently. The final scene of the novel, however, inspired in my mind the idea that the novel itself was an extended metaphor (to tell you for what would be too much of a spoiler!) It brought a really poignancy to the book, and I was left with much to think about.

I can’t confirm that this sense is one every reader will experience – it’s certainly not one of the common ones mentioned by Lowry in his author’s note – but this novel does have something to offer every reader. Aimed and written for a middle-grade audience, there is a lot of simplified language, but Lowry still manages to write an impressive book with some strong characters (although I did fall in and out of love with protagonist Jonas). As with many dystopias, The Giver certainly induced the feeling of gratitude for the simple things in life, and brought many things into question. If you’re looking for an easy read that still has something to offer, this is definitely it!

Recommended for fans of:

  • Matched by Ally Condie
  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  • Whose Side Are You On? by Alan Gibbons

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