The Giver by Lois Lowry: A Book Review

thegiverI am a realistic person. Maybe if American philosopher, William James, were still alive, he could describe me as pragmatic. I believe that that is the way everything in the world is. I do not believe in Elysium as in the movie played by oomph daddy, Matt Damon or in Utopia , the superannuated idea of Thomas Moore. I do not even believe in the geographical places   such as Paradise and Hell as in what the Christians believe, let alone the Purgatory described in Divine Comedy which is totally feared by deeply religious readers unless we can figuratively describe them on Earth.  Just I am staunch. Maybe I have been weaned on my background in social sciences. Maybe I am still ignorant less than people who believe in seven virgins as does the ISIS. So, with this perception, there is no wonder I did not appreciate this book, The Giver. I cannot bear with the conspicuous inconsistencies of the story. There are some parts I do not find fascinating.

Readers may   understand that dystopian   and/or utopian stories could be fictional. They are the pigment to the authors’ imagination. In other words, they do not happen in real life as what readers put it. However, for me, fictions could be drawn from personal experiences since writing  is an art, an expression of oneself. So, suffice to say  that  we are all in harmony that when you read such stories, they are   fictitious. Enough said! … But for me, I appreciate dystopian and/or utopian stories more  if they  still cling  to the real world. Sort of oxymoron. I wish the late scientist Stephen Hawking could help me expound what I am trying to drive at here. ( Bleary-eyed)

Ok. Take it easy, Joey. Don’t mind the sea of bright readers, notably those friends of yours who gave it more than four stars lying in waiting, here on Goodreads. (Taking a deep breath)

The first understanding is that the setting is Utopian. Everyone  just in that you-know-what place mentioned in the book is equal, has kind of socialistic and communistic life. You know as in what   life in North Korea   or in Russia before thought to be  like; everyone  has comfortable life; everyone does not need to be capitalistic  to one another; everyone is given whatever job can be assigned to them according to their personality or life styles while growing up. What a superb concept! However, as you reach the core of the story, you realize that you-know-what place turns out to be dystopian. Aha, Moore’s concept is a trash!  Jonas, the main protagonist, in the end, has found out that everything  turns out to be the greatest show on earth, mimicking Richard Dawkins’s book title.

I believe that dystopian and/or utopian stories  are more appreciated   if :

  • people can relate to the dystopian and/or utopian situations; they may happen in their daily life. For instance, if authors write something which concept is about a paradise where people  thought to be living without suffering  from pains someday, as in life is peaceful and physically comfortable, it could be imaginably understood  because people may interpret the existence of such geographical place, for there are many religions in the world.
  • the story could be beyond belief, logic, and scientific  explanation. Why not make it interesting, something that readers may be ignorant of since   they may have no background in the branches of science? For instance, magic witchcraft in Harry Potter series , but  young readers are enchanted by it. Besides, it is a common superstition elsewhere.

In comparison to the The Giver, there are some parts considered an insult to someone’s intelligence (Don’t take the expression literally.) such as:

  1. In the story, The Giver said to Jonas that love does not exist .

My comment: I believe in this   proposition, but wait, all along , all the characters express love as does The Giver.

  1. Superficial settings like some people keep an eye on   everyone in the you-know-what  place, so don’t ever hide anything such as food  or your acts or talks about something excluded from the rules.

My comment:  I wonder about this imaginary  place. Is it a colossal machine? There is an instance that Jonas and The Giver can talk tête-à-tête  when turning something  off which can record their voices. I think I should watch its movie adaptation.

If you argue that it is the voice of the Highest Person which symbolizes God in that you-know-what place, how about the One in Elsewhere? I am sure you may argue that it is the same voice of the Highest Person. Aha, that you-know-who is omnipresent after all, a lame excuse for the famous atheist writer, George H. Smith.

  1. Cringing symbols  like a bicycle   for a rite of passage.

My comment: Of no taste

  1. Releasing babies that are found to be useless or people who give up on their responsibilities by  means of injection or whatever euthanasiac  paraphernalia mentioned in the story.

My comment: The story may suggest that life could  be taken away by the hands of humans, but it appears that humans are like robots dumped when they are no longer useful.

  1. The age when a child finishes her/ his childhood

My comment: This is what I have been blubbering about. This concept could   make someone cringe. We know that this is unacceptable to the law of human development. We all   universally know that we never stop growing as a child at the age of 12. This is the fact that the writer cannot distort. We can justify this fact. So can young readers.  Do you know what I mean to say, buddy?

I wish I could ask Lois Lowry about my points in question, but I forgot that she wrote it in the 1990’s. Besides, this is supposed to be for young adults. May be readers at that early age  are not mentally mature enough to understand the story. Just they are fascinated at it.  I wonder how a  young smart Alec muses it over.

Rating: 1/ 5 stars ( I didn’t like it.)


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