With all the dystopian booklists popping up during the Covid-19 epidemic, I’m astounded not to see The Giver on more lists. Isn’t it the ultimate dystopia?
Authors, read this book if you want an example of an exquisitely developed alternate universe. Anytime I read a dystopian novel, it gets compared to this story. I ask, “How fully did I feel the world actually existed? How strong are my reactions to this new reality?” I first heard this story when I was about eleven years old. To this day, I can still picture Jonas’ world exactly the same as I did the first time. I see black and white. I see bicycles. I see the Nurturing Center, the Elders, the Ceremony. If you’re building a universe based on our reality, I suggest starting here.
Readers, read this book if you want to escape from our world for a little while, but not into an anxiety-ridden experience. During this pandemic, many people are saying they can’t focus, can’t read. This is a short, simple, easy book that will pull you away from our reality into another.
What I want to tell people about this book is if you like dystopian novels but don’t want the savageness of Lord of the Flies or the harshness of 1984 or the bizarreness of Brave New World, this is a perfect fit, a gentle book.
I read a lot, not just for my work as an editor but for fun and to learn, and yes, for a little escapism!