Jonas lives in a perfect world. Literally. The way everything works has been done that way for as long as anyone can remember, back and back and back. Nothing is out of place; everyone knows where they belong, and where everyone else belongs. Words like Love, Bravery, and Starving are a fantasy.
Life is just as it always has been for Jonas. Until he is given the job of Receiver. Receiving memories from the Giver from before the community was formed, Jonas slowly learns about life as it used to be. The pain, sadness, and joy all mixed up from before anyone can remember eventually leads to the awful truth about the community he lives in.
From what I have heard from everyone else who has read it, they either loved, or were seriously disturbed. I totally understand that; I just finished it the second time around. I was severely disturbed the first time around, but I still loved it.
I would definitely describe it as a disturbing book. Yet, even in the hateful community they ‘live’ in, their world actually is an echo of where we may be headed. While most dystopian books don’t seem at all like a realistic future (think Hunger Games and Divergent), this one is startlingly close to where America may be headed. Perhaps more magnified in the book, but still a good glimpse at where we DON’T want to be.
Other’s may disagree with me, but for me this was a bit of a wake up to reality. I seriously encourage parents to read this before you hand it to your elementary-aged children; it may be a bit over their heads, or too disturbing for the more mature younger kids.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Violence: 3/10 (mostly some of the memories he receives)
Audience: Ages 12 and up
If anyone would like to comment on how the movie compares with the book, please do so!