This futuristic, dystopian story of life in an extremely uniformed and controlled culture is a very intriguing and unique story. I'm really glad I took the time for it. I chose the audio version because I already had three print books going at the time. I'll get to the performance part of this post in a minute.
THE GIVER is a story of community of people who live in a society of sameness. There is no pain, no war or hunger. Everyone is equal in this future world. Every aspect of their life is uniformly planned out. Each year there is a ceremony for the children turning twelve years old that is attended by the Community and at that time it is revealed what job you are assigned and you begin training for that role that you will carry out for the rest of your life.
For Jonas, it is time for his Ceremony of Twelve and he is given a very special assignment - one that is not given out each year. He is to train with The Giver, who holds all the truths and memories of their people. It is considered the highest honor to be given the title of Receiver. As Jonas begins to understand what the Giver has sacrificed for the Community and the truth behind their seemingly perfect existences, an inner struggle begins to emerge. Jonas has to decide if he will fulfill his obligation or stand up for what he believes in knowing what he has learned from The Giver.
This is such a simple story that is also incredible. I really didn't know what to expect with this book but I was quickly awed by the sheer oneness of this society. Lois Lowry writes about this with such perfection, you can't help but believe it. The story is so original and so simply told. There are no bad people in this story. All the people are good, even though some of the rituals they have seem cold and heartless. They simply do not know anything else.
I chose the audio version because of time management and though the narrator, actor Ron Rifkin, did a good job, he was a noisy narrator. By that I mean, I could hear him take his breaths with almost every sentence, many times I could hear him swallow or open his mouth. Its kind of hard to explain and may sound odd to you. I listen to a lot of audios and I've never come across this before. That said, I think he did a good job with the narration and once I got used to it, it didn't distract me from the story, though it was very noticable so I thought I'd mention it.
The recommended age group for this book is ten and up. It would be a great book for parents to read with their kids. There's a lot to be taken away from this story and it would generate some good discussions along the way. Now that I've read it, I'm even more anxious for the movie to come out. I read the other day that along with Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges will play The Giver (a perfect choice IMO), and Taylor Swift even has a role in it as Rosemary. There are four books total in this series that Lowry began writing in 1993. For more information on Lois Lowry and the many other books and series she's written, visit Fantastic Fiction
Here is the official movie trailer. You Must check it out!
THE GIVER by Lois Lowry (Unabridged Audio)
Author: Lois Lowry
Narrator: Ron Rifkin
Publisher: Listening Library
Published: Audio - 2003
Length: 4 Hrs 41 Mins