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Book review of The Giver by Lois Lowry

"The Giver first edition 1993" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -
(This is the front cover art for the book The Giver written by Lois Lowry. The book cover art copyright is believed to belong to the publisher or the cover artist.)
"The Giver' is an American social science fiction novel published way back in 1993 and has been made into a film version in 2014. It's based on an utopian society established on having 'sameness' while sacrificing elements that are deemed as 'inconvenient' to the community, such as ability to sense colors and music, possibility of war and starvation and the social responsibility of taking care of our family members spanning more than two generations. There is an interesting and highly honored position of the Receiver of Memories, who bears the burden of remembering and experiencing all the memories recorded by mankind which are lost and kept safe from other members of the community. 
This novel is so thought provoking that I'd like to share my thoughts and feelings upon reading it:

At first I was a bit reluctant to read through this book because it is set on an utopian society, which means I have to figure out what the world is like, what's similar to ours and what has changed, which can be very tiring for me! But thankfully it's pretty easy to figure that out because this is supposed to be for fifth graders.

The ability to see Beyond

What really grabbed my interest was the way the author revealed Jonas (the new Receiver-in-training) was seeing beyond what the rest of the community could see. It is the color Red! Though there were hints to imply that people in the community could only see different shades, I did not realize that they could not see color. I felt both pity for the community and magical awe for Jonas simultaneously. It is such a wonderful feeling to just read your way to that AHA moment. I have not watched the movie version yet but I'm sure the surprise is just ruined by watching a movie of it!

On a personal level, that AHA moment pretty much describes my own ability to see beyond. The rare instances where I see whatever's before me as vibrating pixels.... which reminds me very much of the 1s and 0s in Matrix. That's how I feel. I found out much later that these 'vibrating pixels' are actually Qi: energies that are building blocks of our Universe. I feel so amazed to be able to see that Qi. 

Wanting Sameness

On sacrificing our ability to sense strong extremes of emotions to feel numb, and thus feel safe: I think this describes perfectly how I have felt as an Empath. 

I remembered being easily overwhelmed by emotions while growing up, and that I was discouraged to cry openly. Now I learned that some of the emotions I felt did not even belong to me in the first place. I have been absorbing them from other people unknowingly. In order to not get chastised for being so emotional, and to not get torn so much by these emotional rollercoasters, I learned to just be numb and not be overly happy or angry or sad. Or that I'd have an emotional episode and feel guilty for not being rational enough to keep my emotions under control.

However, being a mother has definitely helped to release that restriction in me. I laugh myself silly, I break down and cry, I get so angry that I want to whack my firstborn sometimes. I express all these, process them, not letting them get lodged inside my body. Using The Wonder Method definitely helps me process my feelings more easily. 

The transmission of memories

That's such an amazing process! And that to me is like energy healing. To be able to tune into a memory to feel soothed is just like how I tune into the energy of peace to calm a client.
And to simultaneously feel his own body lying down in that room and feel the entirety of the memory he's receiving is just like how I used to feel my body lying on the ground and feel myself accelerating down through the floor and the floors below to God knows where at the same time!

Ambiguity of the word LOVE

The community doesn't use the word LOVE anymore because it's too ambiguous and also because they no longer experience intense and complex emotions like love.

Interestingly, Dr Dain Heer who wrote "Being you, changing the world" doesn't use it either. He feels that this word is often misused to manipulate others. Robert Holden who wrote "loveability" devoted a chapter to get us to question what Love means to us, including its negative connotations, and to rewrite what we mean by Love. So perhaps the community is wise in omitting the use of it? But I guess the author also wants to highlight that they no longer experience the richness and complexity of LOVE, and that life doesn't seem very meaningful when you lose the capacity to feel this love.

Have you read "The Giver" or watched the film before? I'd love to hear your thoughts about it!