When I first picked up The Giver to read I didn’t realize there was an entire series of four books. The way The Giver is talked about I always assumed it was a standalone story. If you haven’t read this book or series yet, I want to warn you in advance that it’s not really a standalone story. Well, at least in my opinion it’s not. (And when I’m done here you may well want to throw things at me, because my opinion of this book isn’t as high as the popular consensus seems to be.)
I feel like I’ve missed something….. Why/how did they not see colors in the first place? Why was the eye color important, other than making them different in appearance, how did it matter in how the person’s mind worked? What pushed the people toward a state of Sameness to begin with? If everyone is so “same” why are twins not allowed? It was an interesting little book, but I feel like I need more story.
Another other thing I couldn’t figure out was if these people had no memory of war or fighting or crime or had never seen any kind of weapon or spoke of any of those things, why were the kids playing good guys and bad guys with imaginary guns? If they had never seen or heard of a weapon before, that doesn’t really make any sense to me…
I thought it was a standalone book, and I got to the end and I was like, wait WHAT is this crap? Where’s the rest of the story? I may have literally yelled at my Kindle a little bit. The boys thought I was going completely loony, though I suppose they think that at least once a day anyhow.
Were you as annoyed as I was at the end of The Giver? Please tell me that I’m not the only one to feel this way in the history of ever.
[side note:] We rented the movie when it came out as well. I felt equally disappointed, maybe even more disappointed than when I finished the book, though I found the cinematic effects to be beautifully done and the character portrayals by the actors were almost exactly as I had imagined the story characters in my mind while reading.
The first thing I thought when I opened this book was, “Why is the book in the series about Jonas and Gabe?” I started the second one thinking it would explain the first one — then it was completely different town, different people, different everything.
Obviously, the focus on fiber arts, the handwork, and the tapestry creation were enough to hold my interest for this book! For that reason alone I’ll declare this my favorite of the the four book series. Castles and tapestries will win me over in almost any story.
I figured at this point that I was half way through and the books are so short I can read one of them in a day, so I might as well read the third and fourth to see if I ever get to a point where it all makes sense as a whole. The oddest thing about this book in regards to the whole series is the title; Gathering Blue seems so out of place in the four.
Some stuff still doesn’t really make sense to me at the end of Messenger, but at least there are some tie-ins happening now and the stories are coming together a little bit.
There were large chunks of this third story that felt off to me, I don’t even know why. Though I have to say Matty is my favorite character of everyone in all four books.
So here I am on Son, the final book in The Giver Quartet, hoping that when I’m done reading this one everything will have finally looped back around to the first book and make sense and be complete. Yes, this means I kept reading even though I wasn’t feeling very excited about the first book. It’s an obsessive reading addiction, when I start something that’s a series I just keep reading, I can’t help it. (I finished the whole set of four books in about a week)
This last book was frustrating in that it went into such depth of detail for a part of the story and then seemed to rush the ending a bit. I do like that some of the dots are connected and parts of the story finally do come together to make a tiny bit of sense.
At the end of it all, I’m still rather disappointed overall. The idea of a dystopian/fairytale/supernatural/magical/growing up/love story seems interesting, and by the end of the fourth book you’ve touched all those types of story…. but when I reached the words The End it still felt a little scattered. The most interesting thing is that all of the different places you visit throughout exist in the same time period and are so very different even though they are seemingly neighbors to each other, though I suppose that’s true in reality as well, neighboring countries can be very different, neighboring states, even neighboring towns vary. Our world is what we see, hear, feel in a day. (I guess that’s the point of this book series then, heh?)
Maybe my expectations were just too high. I know The Giver has won a bunch of awards, often mentioned as one of the most influential pieces of modern literature, it’s required reading in a lot of high school and college literature programs these days, and people often proclaim that reading The Giver has literally changed their lives. I enjoyed the story to the point of thinking about the what ifs, like any other dystopian novel, but I just don’t see the live changing shout it from the rooftops thing that other people see. Even after reading all four books I feel like it’s not really finished and that pieces are missing. Maybe I’m just not looking at it right :-/
If you’ve read the books in this series or even just The Giver, I’d love to hear your thoughts below in the comments. Maybe you saw something I didn’t and we can discuss.