Having watched the movie a good few years ago, I thought that I would read Lois Lowry’s The Giver a few weeks ago. I was quite surprised to find out that the book is actually four years older than me! I was aware of the fact that this novel is for children; however, I didn’t expect it to be as thought-provoking and interesting and ambiguous as it was. In fact, I couldn’t help comparing this story to real life. The book is also extremely different to the movie, as you may have already guessed.
The Characters’ Ages
In the book, Jonas and his peers are Elevens awaiting the Ceremony of Twelve, where they will find out what their lifelong assignments will be. However, in the movie, they are 16. This drastically changes the tone of the story.
A Futuristic Lifestyle
When I read The Giver, I imagined them living very simple lives. It was quite the opposite in the movie, where everything was very futuristic and advanced. There were no drones or holograms or fancy gadgets ever mentioned.
Pills for “Stirrings” & the Injections
It is clear that “stirrings” refer to sexual desires. When Jonas has his first stirring, which was a dream, his parents simply gave him a pill that he would have to take every day. In the movie, the community is forced to have an injection every day and the process is a lot more strict and futuristic than in the book.
Jonas & Asher’s Relationship
Asher is Jonas’s goofy, clumsy best friend. He is not as serious as what he is in the movie, and he and Jonas definitely don’t fight.
The Romance Between Jonas & Fiona
I think that, by making the characters teenagers in the movie, it opened the door for a bit of a love story. Although we do know that Jonas has some sort of unexplained feelings for Fiona in the book, it wasn’t ever taken seriously the way it was in the movie. Unlike the movie, there was no kiss in the book.
Fiona & Asher’s Careers
Both Fiona and Asher received completely different assignments in the movie. Fiona, who was Caretaker of the Old, was made to be a Nurturer in the movie. Asher, who was Assistant Director of Recreation, was made to be a Pilot in the movie.
The First Memory of Pain
Jonas’s first memory of pain was sunburn in the book. This is different to the bee sting that he experienced in the movie.
The Chief Elder’s Role
Unlike in the movie, the Chief Elder was not mentioned very much in the book and was not an evil villain either.
The movie took the escape to another level! There was a lot more action, Asher was made out to be a huge patriot, and it was far less ambiguous. In the book, we read about Jonas’s and Gabriel’s struggle to survive and stay alive during their escape, and we are never told whether or not Jonas and Gabriel reached the house alive, whereas the movie clearly shows them walking to the home.
I highly recommend reading the book, even if you have already watched the movie. While the movie appears to be more exciting and action-packed, the book is a lot more philosophical. I really enjoyed it.