Was there such a thing as YA Dystopian literature before The Giver? I don't know, but I'm quite certain we'd never know Katniss or Tris if Jonus had never existed.
I missed out on reading The Giver in my youth. It was published as I was graduating high school, which was immediately followed by life, one thing or another, so on and so forth, yadda yadda yadda, until suddenly my 13-year-old says "Dad, I want to read The Giver." Done, let's do it together.
Now I'm jealous she gets to experience it when she's 13. Would I have seen the highs and lows of life differently? Would it have been easier to learn that the hard parts of life are just as important to who I am as the good parts? Would I be different? Should I quit my job and become a junior high literature teacher just so I can read The Giver with my students? Ok, ya. That's going a bit to far...right?
Jonus lives in a perfect world. Karl Marx would love it there. Everyone is safe, well-fed, and comfortable. Everyone works together for the benefit of the whole. Everyone is the same. Everyone is satisfied. Everything is just as it should be. But then Jonus learns to feel, and everything begins to unravel...
If there's an I wish, it's that the ending wouldn't have been so ambiguous. Many authors get all philosophical when writing their Magnum Opus, but I wish they wouldn't. Oh well, I guess that's just more for my lit students to discuss.
I hope you'll read The Giver. It's only 179 pages, but it's a much bigger book than those ones about Katniss and Tris.
For those who have read the rest of "The Giver Quartet," is it worth it? I kind of like the place I'm at with The Giver and I've heard some pretty polarizing things.