Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Giver

In literature and fiction, anything in the sci-fi or fantasy genres have always been a bridge too far for me.  I find this type of story challenging beyond words.  I do not desire to "learn" a new world and the machinations thereof.  I am challenged enough by the nuances of the world I know.  Thus, I can count on one hand the books I have read in this genre in my lifetime.

So, with my current book reading challenge suggesting (nay, forcing me) to read a book set in the future, I went to my husband for a suggestion.  He suggested The Giver by Lois Lowry as an "easy and quick read."

The challenge I felt reading the first half of the book was oppressive.  I found it difficult to get through two to three pages at a time without falling asleep or finding other things that needed doing around the house.  In fact, it took me over a week to read a small nine chapters.

And then...
It took me an hour and a half to finish the rest of the book and I devoured it in one sitting, feeling somewhat satisfied with myself for chalking up my 2nd fantasy/sci-fi read.

So what gives?

I think that, as with almost all other books in this genre, a large portion of the book involves building the setting.  And, let's be real: that can be pretty boring.  Finding out all the specifics of an author's made up world can take a while.  Not that it is an unnecessary step, just a tedious one. Once the author has established this made-up world to his/her liking, he/she can move forward with plot.  And apparently plot is my jam.

The Giver, though in my opinion, is long on setting and short on plot; it is not unsatisfying.  It is a good read.  A recommended read and it deals with some pretty major themes.  But I kind of feel that it could have been a short story.  Wouldn't it have been a little more jarring if it had just plopped the reader down into the plot and left her to discover the uniqueness of the world surrounding t he plot?  Just a thought.

I can see why The Giver became an instant classic.  But I do understand why it would have been a challenge for me in eighth grade.  Heck, it was a challenge for me at 34!


Rating: 3.5 out of 7

This book fulfills the "Book set in the future" for my current challenge.