With all the hype over The Giver as a movie, I decided I should reread it. Mostly because I saw the previews for the movie and I couldn’t help but think that the book was definitely not that sci-fi. Like, ok, futuristic, but not sci-fi. Maybe I’m viewing the previews in some kind of way, but it looks like nothing I imagined. So, I reread it to make sure that I just hadn’t forgotten all the cool sci-fi parts and discovered that I didn’t forget anything and I imagine the book the same and the movie is wrong.
I first read The Giver in the sixth grade because I think that’s when a lot of people like to teach it??? Anyway, I really liked it. I mean, ok, I didn’t really like it, but I liked it enough to remember about it. And I liked it enough to write a sequel for it. Let me explain: in sixth grade we read The Giver and then were asked to do a project on it because that’s what you do in the sixth grade. One of the projects you could do for the book was to write a sequel. But who wants to do that when you could easily just make a poster about Jonas’s eye color? (I don’t think that was a real thing.) Well, I’ll tell you who wants to write a sequel for a book: me. Not that the actual book is that long and, I mean, my sequel was definitely not even close to being 179 pages, but you know, I wrote a sequel because I guess I hated how the book ended. And, after reading it again, I’ve decided that I STILL hate how this book ends. But I won’t start at the ending, ok?
The book follows this kind of futuristic city in which everything is decided for everyone and no one questions it and no one thinks it sucks because that’s all they’ve ever known. Basically everyone is a robot and that’s that. (Not so dramatic, but almost.) Here’s the major difference between my mind’s movie and the actual movie because the actual movie makes it seem super future, like drones and cool haircuts. I was imagining everyone kind of woodsy. Like almost Zelda and the Ocarina of Time, but not quite. WAIT I GOT IT. Almost like Dark Cloud, but not the original village you live in, the village you go to help rebuild after you rebuild your own. And they live in the woods and some people live in tree houses and one guy lives in a mushroom and I know they’re mostly wearing animal skins but that’s essentially what I imagined even now. Are we seeing it yet? I know they’re supposed to be a cool advanced community, but I still imagined them very old. So maybe I’m just wrong, maybe the rest of you think I’m crazy.
Anyway, I can’t really get my mind off talking about the ending so I’m going to do it because I think that’s where most of my review lies. Ok so I have no real problem with the plot or the characters or even the development, BUT I DO HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THE ENDING. I think it ends so fast and so annoyingly. I’ve been trying to figure out what exactly I didn’t like about it, but I can’t really put my finger on it. The only thing I could come up with was maybe the framing of the story didn’t work for me??? Hear me out. We had this really lengthy first 3/4 of the book. We were introduced to the community, the characters, the way they do things. We saw the different ceremonies and learned how those worked and we were able to sit in on a few of the sessions that Jonas had with The Giver. But I just feel like after five sessions, Jonas is up and ready to run away and change the world and The Giver is like “to hell with it” and goes along with it. Ok, I know the sessions span the course of a year, I think, but it doesn’t feel like that. It feels like one random Tuesday, Jonas shows up and is like WOW THIS PLACE SUCKS and The Giver is like “yep” and the next day Jonas is kidnapping Gabe and running away forever. What is that? And then they’re running away and it is basically the most boring part of the entire book. Ok, the insertion of the small memories and the idea that the memories are fading and returning to the community, fine. Ok. And even the reality of the memory with the sled in the snow, cool. I get it. But oh my goodness please end because I can’t take any more of it. And in reality, the last part of the book was maybe twenty pages and I hated it. I am so dramatic but I just feel like the framing of the story overall needed to be stronger. I can’t even remember the ending that well and I read it last week. I don’t think it ended on a strong enough point. I don’t care where Jonas ended up or what happens to him or the community, but also I feel like Lowry needed it to end strong enough where you know you’ll never know and you’re ok with that. You remember what he went through and accept it as the ending. I can’t accept this, I just can’t do it.
Ok, what SHOULD happen (or, at least, what happens in my head because I can’t remember the exact sequel that I wrote but I’m sure it’s similar because I don’t change my mind about things) is that Jonas should maybe run into a family and it should be the exact world that Lily describes. They should all have twins. And Jonas meets his twin, but he’s too weak and basically dies, but Gabe lives with this family that would’ve been his had there not been the rule against more than two kids. I mean, ok, granted there’s another Gabe living in this new community, but he’s with a different family. You know what I’m saying? But this new family with this new Lily and new Jonas take him in and ugh it would be perfect. I’m writing this sequel again.