If Brave New World
and Ayn Rand's Anthem
had too much to drink one night and started flirting and then started more than just flirting, and 1984
was invited to the party but mostly just watched, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas
wandered over now and then to pound on the door and ask if they could please keep the noise down a little – this book would have been the result.
I'm not sure that tells you what you need to know in terms of whether or not you'd like to read this book, so I'll try to elaborate a bit.
I liked it. Then I got annoyed by it. Then I hit the "OH DEAR GOD THAT DID NOT
JUST HAPPEN" incident, which is not something you can simply walk away from, literally or metaphorically. Then I reached the end, which I thought was fine though I know some people found it abrupt.
Lowry's writing is smooth and persuasive throughout. What I had trouble with was her world-building.
There are so many surprises in this story that I don't want to get too specific. But I'll point out a few things in a reasonably spoiler-free fashion.
1. We learn that this dystopian future is utterly regulated, right down to complete climate control. No more snow. No more hills. No weather or landscape that's anything but smooth and predictable. Okay. But there's a river that's significant to the plot. A river.
You know what a river is, right? – a bunch of water that flows downhill
, generally as a result of melting snow atop a mountain?
2. I have to be really
vague here: Given everything we know about this society – what are those geraniums doing there?
3. Who's the vaguest one of all? Right here. Re the "OH NO THAT DID NOT JUST HAPPEN OH YES IT DID" incident: Given the near-magical levels of technology we've had described for us, and the completely non-sexual methods of reproduction implied, is it possible for any twins who are conceived to be anything but identical?
4. Don't get me started on how the heck memory is supposed to work in this world. Just – don't.
This book is beautifully written, and the characters are convincing. If you're a nice person who gets caught up in the story, you'll find The Giver
a compelling read. If you're a cranky old redhead with a habit of saying, "BUT THAT WOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED IN THE FIRST PLACE," you'll have a harder time of it.
That said, I plan to look for the next book in the series on my next library visit. If I find it and finish it, you'll hear from me.