I love dystopian stories. There is just something intriguing, and often scary, about seeing how society "could be" if some event happened or if they took it into their own hands to change the way life "should be".
The Giver by Lois Lowry is one of the better dystopian stories I have read in terms of fleshing out the society and their rules, regulations and behaviors.
This story really makes you think. Would the world be a better place if things such as violence and lust were completely removed from life by a society who changes and controls things for the betterment of their people? Where people must apply for spouses that are not chosen by them, and only then are able to apply for children that are not created by them. Where members are placed together to form a loving family unit with the maximum of one mother, one father, one male child and one female child. Where children only live at home until they have progressed through their growth years and are chosen foe their life's work by the society's council.
I have to admit...the idea has some merits to it. I often stopped to weigh the pros versus the cons while reading this book. Would I miss the things they took away from their society to trade in for all the good they have achieved. It was a very difficult assessment for me to make at times.
I was constantly shocked and sometimes even appalled at how far they insisted on going. Many of the rules were not stated outright, but if you read between the lines enough you can understand what they are implying. I don't want to give any of it away because some of the revelations came closer to the end, but it was all so wonderfully done. The author didn't slap you in the face with a list of rules, they just let them sneak up on you and tackle you from behind. The writing style was perfect. The story flowed by so fast I was disappointed when it was over.
Of course part of that was due to the way it ended. If you have been following my blog long enough you know of my hatred for cliffhanger endings. It makes me want to tear my hair out and beat small children (not really...but you get the picture). Almost everything had been running so smoothly up until the last few pages. Considering there really isn't a sequel it would have been nice if the author could have tied up the loose ends a little tighter...but they didn't. That's always disappointing...at least to me.
Some other minor points of contention were over some of the things we learn later that the society has changed. Up to about the middle of the book most changes and rules make some sense, and they seem completely realistic and I could see a scared society (or a controlling one) putting these new rules into motion. But some of the things we find out they have changed, or controlled, later in the story are so hard to believe it took me completely out of the story. It was such a shame.
Every summer I make my son read at least 2 novels of my choosing and then he has to write a report on them for my review. This year I have chosen this as the second of the 2 books. Mockingbird was his first one. He is reading that one currently.
I was tempted to give this book a 4.5 rating. But I don't do partial ratings. You know why? Have you ever seen half a spider? Ok...I'm sure you have...but I bet it wasn't pretty...and I don't want no ugly half spiders lurking on my blog ok?