The Giver – Lois Lowry

the-giverAt the age of twelve children in the community receive their assignments (or rather the job that they will be performing for the rest of their lives). Up until then Jonas lived safely within the community, a place where there is no war, no hunger and no pain. But that was until Jonas was chosen as the Receiver of Memory.

The Giver is an easy to read novel although some of the concepts introduced in the novel are not so easy to digest. On the surface the community where Jonas lives seems perfect. No war, hunger or pain. But that is until Jonas receives the most important assignment of all. He is to be the Receiver of Memory which means that he will be the keeper of all the memories of all mankind. The people in his community have no memories other than that of their own lives. They thus need a Receiver to keep the memories for them and advise the community based on those memories.

SPOILER ALERT

The Giver, which is the previous Receiver of Memory, gives the memories to Jonas one by one. The Giver starts off by giving Jonas happy memories like the memory of a rainbow but soon the Giver has to give Jonas more painful memories of starvation, war, pain and loneliness. Jonas struggles to deal with these memories as it is something that he has not experienced before. Jonas’s world seems ideal compared to these memories but his world is also a world without love.

The people in the community, Jonas’s parents included, do not understand the concept of love as they have no knowledge of it. But the memory of love has such an influence on Jonas that he decides that it would be better to have pain and suffering if there could also be love. He starts to reject the ideas his community has on what life should be like.

A world without pain, loss or loneliness seems ideal but what would that world be if there was no colour, no choice and no love.

What would you choose?

I enjoyed this book immensely. The concepts and ideas introduced in this novel makes one think and re-evaluate the life you’re living. Am I exercising my right to choice? Am I seeing the colour in my life?

The only critique I have of The Giver is that the concepts could have been dealt with more in-depth. I feel that Lowry touches the surface of these concepts but don’t explore them in detail. This could be to encourage the reader to make up their own mind and to give them the freedom of choice as to how they want to interpret the novel. I personally would have liked the novel to explore these concepts further.

3-en-half

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ranson Riggs

peregrineA mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of peculiar photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

The novel follows sixteen-year-old Jacob Portman as he travels to a remote island off the coast of Wales after a dreadful family tragedy. He discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, where it becomes clear that the children are more than just peculiar.

The story starts of as being very intriguing, as Jacob finds himself having to solve more than a few mysteries. It kept me wondering what Jacob might discover next. I found the novel to be quite creepy and scary. I was almost too afraid to turn the page for what ominous photograph I might discover. The use of the photographs along with the text really brought the story to life. It also took a lot of will power not to flip through the novel and look at the photographs but I wanted to see them in the context in which Jacob found them. I really enjoyed this aspect of the novel.

Ranson Riggs also creates a creepy and ominous atmosphere with his descriptions of landscapes and situations like this description of a storm:

“We spun toward the sound, rattled, and for a moment just stood listening as it seethed and howled at the mouth of the tunnel. It sounded like a caged animal that had just been showed its dinner. There was nothing to do but offer ourselves up to it” – Ranson Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

SPOILER ALERT

That said I have to say that I enjoyed the book immensely until half way through. Time travel just isn’t something I’m interested in and when Jacob discovers that the peculiar children are stuck in a time loop I lost interest. This makes the novel a rather disappointing read in my opinion. I was also really frustrated with the ending. It ended rather abruptly with nothing being resolved. The sequel was released earlier this year but if I have to be honest it will most likely not find its way to my bedstand.

2-en-half