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Review by Caleyna
Lois Lowry was always a favorite of mine as a child, but somehow I'd never had the desire to read this particular book. I like children's lit, especially Newberry winners, so I'm not sure why it took me so long to pick up this little book. The World The Characters The Plot The Grade
This is quite possibly the most frightening world I have ever read about. It is a future Earth. A very SCARY Earth. Everyone is exactly the same as everyone else. The government picks everyone's job, spouse, children, meals, clothing. . . everything. People have no options. They feel no pain. They feel no joy. Scary scary stuff. It will never happen as long as humans are around. There is just no way humans would willingly give up sex *l*.
Jonas is a young man, about to turn 12 when the story starts. On his 12th birthday he will be assigned a job and begin training. His job turns out to be an eye-opener, as it reveals new things about his society, new things about his parents, and new things about himself. I loved Jonas and felt his frustrations. I don't understand how the rest of the characters could do what they had to do in order to live in this world. Knowing what humans are, I don't think our world could ever turn out this way. I hope hope hope.
This is a very short little read, intended for ages 9-12, so it is not as complex as what most of us are used to reading. In fact, I bet it didn't even take me a total of three hours to read through the book. With each turn of the page, the reader is introduced to a new atrocity in this new society. Some of them are easy to guess, but others came as a total surprise to me. The ending is totally ambigious and I'm still trying to decide if it was good or bad. It could have meant a variety of things, but as a pessimist I am pretty sure it meant something not so good.
It won a Newberry, so Lowry is probably not all that concerned about the number of amulets I bestow upon it. It gets a five of course. Amazing little book. Great cautionary tale of what could happen if we don't celebrate our diversity--if we insist upon everyone fitting into a cookie cutter mold of "normal". I personally don't believe such a thing could ever happen b/c the human spirit is too independent, but maybe I am an optimist as well as a pessimist.
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