THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS……
Jonas is an eleven year old boy living in a safe and guarded community, shielded by ‘Sameness’. There is no crime, no lies, no pain, no hunger and everyone sees the world in one colour, grey. This is how they have chosen to live. They chose to forget about the past, and to live in perfect peace and harmony, without the painful and difficult memories of ‘Before’.
It is nearly December, and soon Jonas will attend his ‘Ceremony Of Twelve’, where he will be given the title of the job he will carry out for the rest of his life. But during the ceremony, Jonas realises that his number and name have been skipped and he begins to panic and fret.
The Chief Elder calls him to the stage last and informs him that he has been selected as the new ‘Reciever Of Memory’, a job that was appointed to a female ten years ago, but failed when she applied for ‘Release’, meaning she was sent away from the community to a place known as ‘Elsewhere’.
The job is very important, and very secretive. Jonas is not allowed to talk about the training he recieves at the annex with The Giver. He is shown memories of a time before the community, and before the ‘Sameness’ that envelopes all thier lives. The memories are of war and the burning heat of the sun, and occasionally nice things like snow and colours.
Jonas starts to realise that he has been seeing glimpses of a colour known as Red, and The Giver helps him to remember and be able to identify more colours and objects.
But one day during his training, Jonas is shown a ‘Releasing’, and sees his father injecting a baby who is deemed the heavier child of a twin, and therefore needs to be realeased in order to control the population of the community. The injection kills the child, and Jonas is devastated that any human could kill another so brutally, let alone his own father. Jonas is so distraught that he does not return home that night, but chooses to stay with The Giver at the annex for the night.
The Giver and Jonas talk all night into the early hours and concoct a plan for Jonas to escape and leave the community behind, knowing that the further from the community he is, the more memories he will leave behind for them to discover. It is a dangerous plan and one that could get Jonas killed.
The next morning, Jonas returns home in a better mood, only to be told that the baby left behind after the ‘Release’ the other day is also going to be released the following morning. Jonas leaves with the baby in the early hours and takes his dad’s bicycle to ride away from the community, looking for ‘Elsewhere’.
So, that is the main story. I can see why this book is labelled a classic dystopian, and I can see how it paved the way for the modern dystopian authors we read today