When the story begins, we are shown a perfect Utopian world, where life is organised, well thought out and taken care of. Everybody knows and respects the rules, and is happy and content
, which is what sets it apart from the other dystopic fiction novels out there - the people aren't living in fear, they aren't following the rules out of fear, they want
to follow the rules, they like
following the rules.
Jonas, the twelve-year old protagonist, receives his Job Assignment on his birthday - that of a Receiver of Memories. The Receiver's job is to get the memories of generations past from the Giver and store them all himself on behalf of the rest of the people in community, so that he can help them with his vast wisdom gained from those memories, when in need, and they won't have to be burdened by negative feelings such as pain, hunger, loneliness and death. But this means that they don't know any positive feelings like love, contentment and sense of individuality either.
While receiving these memories from the Giver, Jonas comes to realise that while the negative feelings are suppressed for a reason, he would rather have them than live without feeling anything at all. He is shocked when he stumbles upon the way in which the community disposes of the old and the inadequate newborns, by means of a "Release ceremony". When he finds out that a newborn he has come to care for is to be "released" as he is not growing up well enough to the required "standards", he decides enough is enough and runs away, along with the newborn, to another community, Elsewhere, with the help of the Giver.
The writing is amazing, Lowry draws you in with her words. In the beginning of the story, though she talks about a perfect life, there's always an eerie undercurrent to it. I absolutely loved the twist that these people live without colour in their lives I wasn't that
horrified by the dystopic aspect of the story, but that might be because I read the Hunger Games before this (where **SPOILER ALERT** KIDS actually kill
each other in the most vicious way possible - nothing can top that for me as 'dystopia')
The first half of the book is really good, but the second half felt kind of flat to me. It felt rushed through and the ending left me vaguely dissatisfied. I hear there are two more books following this so I'm hoping Lowry ties up the loose ends there.