Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community.
When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now it's time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.
Author: Lois Lowry
Page Count: 180
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult.
Series? Yes (Book 1)
* BOOK and MOVIE review! *
We all know the saying, "never judge a book by the cover." Sad to say, I didn't listen to this piece of advice when I was younger. I had the option many times in school to actually read, The Giver; but I would pick up the book and just sit it back down. I never tried to read the summary or held any interest in choosing this particular book. How could a book with an old man on the front be interesting?
Needless to say, I was wrong. Like many people, I decided to finally read this book knowing a movie was going to be coming out based on it. My plans were to read the book then go watch the movie; however, that didn't actually happen. I ended up watching the movie first. Enjoying the movie only made me want to read this story more. For the first time in years of seeing this book around, my interest for this story was piqued.
Dystopian books and movies seem to be taking the prime spot in today's culture. While there are some really good stories out there, sometimes it just gets tiring reading this genre. It was nice to see where some of these stories may have started. The Giver was probably one of the first dystopian books to be made popular before most people even knew what that genre of story was. This gave The Giver a unique quality that I really enjoyed.
I really enjoyed the aspect of the people being controlled, but not in a sinister way. There was truly no single person, or group, that wanted to control how the people of the community acted and felt. To make a better life for everyone, simple pleasures and pain humans feel were taken away. This allowed generations of people to live "happy" lives. No war. No pain. No emotional hurt. On the negative side of this concept, people couldn't feel love, true happiness, creativeness, desire, ambitions. Even the simple joy of seeing colors and hearing music was stripped from the lives of people. Although this was a Utopia for the people, what true joy was there? Even a person's spouse and children were chosen for them by the Elders.
On a completely different note, it was nice to see the struggle between The Giver and the receiver. Not only were they responsible for keeping the memories of all the world, they couldn't express any thoughts or feelings with their fellow citizens. How would you like to be the only person to feel love? How could you describe colors to someone who has no understanding of such a thing? Imagine not being able to read stories of magic and adventures. To live life only with what was considered practical and safe.
Taking a look on the other side of things, the movie was a pretty good interpretation of the book. My favorite part of watching the movie was being able to see the black and white movie slowly add colors. As Jonas began seeing colors, so did the viewers. I think this was a great way to help the audience understand and connect with the characters.
The casts of actors were a great choice, and I don't have any complaints about any of them. However, like most from book to movie adaptations, there were some differences between them. Here are a few major differences between the book and movie:
- Jonas was 11, eventually turning 12. - Jonas and friends were 16.
- No love relationship. - Jonas and Fiona have a relationship.
- Fiona and Asher were not always together - Jonas, Fiona, Asher always together.
- Giver never shares the memory of music. - Jonas gets the memory of music early on.
- The Chief Elder is hardly a character. - The Chief Elder is a major character.
There are a few more differences between the book and movie, but the core of the story remained the same. The overall plot never changed, just a few of the details. Even though the book goes into deeper details about a few things, the movie has a nice was of showing the city and city life. The addition of Fiona and The Chief Elder's roles to the story really made the movie a bit more interesting.
Overall, I enjoyed them both and would recommend fans of the book to see the movie. It was actually pretty good and worth a watch. If you haven't read the book, I would recommend this one to you. I would rate this a 4 out of 5 stars. Great story and it's a short, easy read.
What are your thoughts on the book or movie?