The Giver (1993) by Lois Lowry is by all accounts an excellent book. It won the Newbery Medal in 1994, and there are many reviews and comments on Cannonball dedicated to singing its praises. Now, I thought this was a good book, but something kept me from really feeling involved with the characters and the story. At first, I thought I’d been reading too many young-adult novels and was getting burned out (which was probably true), but I think there’s more to it.
The Giver follows the story of Jonas as he turns twelve years old in a world that has abolished pain and misery in exchange for shallow emotions, lack of knowledge, and lack of brilliance. This new world also has stifling rules that force equality and serenity. Jonas is chosen to be the next keeper of society’s memories. As Jonas works with the previous keeper and learns more about his world and what he’s missing, his perception changes. In the end, Jonas must decide whether to conform to the life he grew up in or reject it for hopefully something more.