I recently re-read “The Giver” by Lois Lowry because I heard that it was turned into a movie! The first time I read it, I was 17 y/o, upon the recommendation of my friend B who, at that time, was glomming Newberry award-winning books.
“The Giver” is a YA novel describing a dystopian community where everybody cooperates; everyone knows his/her place in the system; everyone is happy; there is no hunger, illness or strife; older people or babies who do not fit in are “released” with such heart-warming ceremony.
It is the story of 11 year-old Jonas who was assigned to be the next Receiver of Memories — with all the pain and joy that such a work would entail.
It is a world of blacks and whites and grays. No colors at all.
Jonas was astounded during his lessons to be the next Receiver. He realized that there are such stuff called “colors” and “heat” and “cold”. He got to learn about sunshine and snow and sleigh rides. On the other hand, he also got to experience hunger and conflict and war. And he was made to perceive death — seemingly the worst atrocity of all, depending on how one looks at it.
“The Giver” was like an allegory about “growing up”.
It was a disturbing book. Even for a 17-year old.
But then, one lives in a disturbing world. Even if one is already way past 17.
There are no such things as heroes and villains. Just different types of victims (i.e. one who suffered the holocaust and one who suffered displacement and foreign occupation). And different types of perpetrators (i.e. one who straps explosives on one’s body and kills a busload of innocents and one who fire explosives and kill a block-ful of innocents).
One wishes to be young, to go back to a time when pride seemed meaningless and power was not even a word. When there were still no grudges and it was still easy to share a playground to lie on.
On a positive note — Free ebook sites are one of humanity’s greatest inventions 🙂