The Giver, by Lois Lowry, is the first book in the Giver Quartet series. It is a story about a boy named Jonas, who lives in a community in the future that prides itself in how it has designed itself to be peaceful, efficient, and fair. At the age of 12, the children in the community are assigned a job to do for the rest of their lives. This is normally a good thing, since the elders usually pick a career that fits their interests and passions with what they would enjoy doing. However, Jonas is in an unusual situation because he sees things differently than everyone else, so they assign him to the job titled "Receiver of Memory." This is when the book gets really interesting, because we discover that the entire community, except for Receiver of Memory, has forgotten all of the memories of the history of the world. Their desire to forget pain, love, war, music, and all the other things that make life wonderful and yet horrible at the same time. The reader follows Jonas on this journey of realizing what makes life worth living.
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I always cry when I read this book because of how beautiful life can be seen from the perspective of those who don't have the freedom of choice. Being able to make choices and have freedom to love and freedom to get hurt is what makes life worth living. If we try too hard to control our lives and control the pain, then we take away the joy of life. When Jonas discovers this as he learns about the memories of the human race, it helps me open my eyes and realize what is important. The realization that Jonas makes throughout this book is what we need to realize each time we talk to our family and friends and each time we make choices about how to treat each other. This book is a brilliant way two see the world and how to make it a better place.