Review Double Up: The Giver and The Deal of a Lifetime

I have fallen behind on my library reading and saw that I had hours left on Lois Lowry’s The Giver and Fredrik Backman’s The Deal of a Lifetime so I binged on them last night.  Both are reviewed below.

First thanks to Gina aka Silverdust for recommending The Giver to me. I’ve seen it on dozens of lists and known about it, but just never added it to my TBR pile. I think we all probably have books like that, the I’ll-get-around-to-it-someday book.

The Giver (Giver Quartet, Book 1) by [Lowry, Lois]


The Giver is, without a doubt, a young adult novel. Written in 1993, it has the “feel” of a YA novel that many current YA novels don’t, perhaps because it feels so didactic in nature and simple in telling. While it includes some world-building, no explanation is given as to how the society came to this point.

The “Community” is a dystopian, supposedly perfect society. Everyone behaves. There are no colors. There is no music. There is no dancing. A committee picks the perfect match for each person. After the passing of several years, they may apply to have a baby given to them. The society is very sterile. Pills are given to lower the sex drive. Real emotions have been eradicated.

Jonas, the protagonist, is worried about his year 12 ceremony in December in which his future will be determined. No one anticipates, except the Committee, that Jonas will be the next Receiver, the keeper of all memories.

It is at this point, when Jonas meets the Giver (the previous Receiver), that Jonas, as well as the reader, views how horrible the “Community” really is.  Once you can see colors and feel happiness and love, can you ever accept a society in which this has all been taken away from you? What if the alternative is starvation and war? Would you surrender emotional and intellectual freedom for a stable society?

As Jonas takes on new memories, both wonderful and horrible, Lowry pulls on the reader’s emotion and heartstrings. There exists no concept of “animal” in the “Community.” All of the animals have been eradicated. In this time of threatened repeals of endangered species acts and conservation acts, Lowry’s warnings feel acutely appropriate.

I would definitely recommend The Giver to anyone who enjoys reading YA dystopian novels. While the ramifications of the subject matter are not innocent, the telling and nature are gentle so it might appeal less to readers who prefer blatant darkness.

rating: 4-butterflies

4 out of 5 butterflies

The Deal of a Lifetime by [Backman, Fredrik]

You’re successful. You have all of the money you could ever need. It means nothing. You have been obsessive, never happy, because it’s only obsessive people who ever achieve anything. And happy people never do.

So what would you do when you think you could be dying, but you’ve thrown all of your relationships away? What if you met a wonderful little girl with a profound imagination who was dying of cancer, what would you do?

These are just a few of the philosophic questions in Fredrik Backman’s very short novella, The Deal of a Lifetime. Beautifully written and introspective, it’s an excellent addition to the Backman oeuvre.

rating: 4-butterflies

4 out of 5 butterflies


6 thoughts on “Review Double Up: The Giver and The Deal of a Lifetime

  1. thank you for the mention Sascha, am so pleased you got to read it (finally!) and that you liked it too. I enjoyed your review very much, I think we have concurrent thoughts and feelings about this wonderful book. I wrote a review precisely a year ago and if you would like to read it, here is the link I am happy we share a love for these YA books and themes, a lot to learn from history and also possible futures.

  2. and on a the other review, Backman is my new favourite author, after i read “A Man called Ove” I fell hopelessly in love with his style and content and promptly bought his other two novels, Britt-Marie and the Grandmother ones. I don’t have this title you reviewed but will be looking out for it in the shops for sure! Thank you Sascha! Backman oeuvre indeed, brilliant description! There should be a special section for him alone in bookstores!

    1. You must read Beartown and Us Against You. They are so full of heart and so beautiful. If you can have a crush on someone just through his writing, he’s mine! 🙂

      1. ah yes so many of his books I am yet to get but I will! I thought I was the weird one for falling in love with a writer because of the way they use words and craft stories like they were looking into our souls, like if that was even possible, it used to be John Green but he has since been displaced…LOL! Glad I found another fangirl!

      2. Yep. It’s probably why I never look twice at the Hollywood-types, but will look at the playwrights and poets and novelists and the musicians. 🙂 Nerd alert! (although musicians might not fit into nerdy) 🙂

      3. nah not me either, a pretty face with no depth does little to ignite me, the nerdy guys were always the most passionate ones anyway! Musicians are in a class of their own, I have been crushing on Rob Thomas since forever!

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