|Purchase: Amazon | Chapters|
Start Date: July 4, 2011
Finished Date: July 6, 2011 (3 days)
Where Found: Chapters-Indigo
Why Read: On my TBR list
Read For: Back to the Classics Challenge (5/8)
Summary: In a desensitized, painless world, a boy turning the milestone age of 12 is reluctantly chosen as his the next Receiver, a job that involves absorbing prior memories of the society from the historian known as the Giver.
I have to admit that my expectations for this book were very high as I had heard lots of amazing things about The Giver and it still ranks among the best of classic children's literature. I was not much of a sci-fi/fantasy reader as a child, though I ate up lots of Monica Hughes' sci-fi books. I was more into The Babysitters Club, Gordon Korman, and Paula Danzinger. That being said, I found the book to be well-written but just not as exciting as I had hoped. Not to say it's overhyped; it just fell a tad short of my expectations.
The story's content is borderline disturbing for young readers, and I think its message is really deep, maybe too much for its readability level (it is set at a late Grade 5 reading level). I think intermediate students (Grade 7 and 8) would be a more appropriate audience, given its content. The style and dialogue of the novel is deliberately banal, which can get nerve-wracking after a while that you just want to scream. I did not relate as much to Jonas as I did to Lily. I loved her mild precocity and how it winks at the reader, almost to say, "See? There is hope for life in this Stepford Wives world." The prose is often beautiful, bringing to mind how a red rose stands out in a grey fog, and is what I liked most about the story: good enough for me to like it, just not enough for me to love it.
The ending is quite inconclusive and that also irked me. It may suggest hopefulness for Jonas and Gabriel, but the open-endedness was too obvious a path for a sci-fi novel. It would have been more interesting to make a conclusion about their outcome, rather than leaving it up to the reader. Too many novels have that inconclusiveness that I start to wonder if endings are getting harder for writers to conjure up because so many have been recycled to the point of being cliched.
Rank: (B)- Good, Recommend