I recently finished my Coming of Age book The Giver by Lois Lowry. It was great. The plot kept me interested throughout the whole book, and I became extremely attached to the characters. I still stand by my main point I had half way through the book also, which was that age plays a huge role in this book. And now that I've finished the book, I feel like in a way it has a whole new meaning. I'll try to explain it without spoiling the plot too much.
First of all, I think that Jonas was probably the most mature person in his entire community. The way he handled himself on several occasions throughout the book is phenomenal. I cannot relate in any way. While I would have most likely just stood there in shock in most of those situations, Jonas somehow found a way to react accordingly. And he's only twelve years old, can you believe it? TWELVE YEARS OLD! That's amazing. Another thing is that while his ideas might have been slightly influenced by the giver himself, he has some amazing insight on current events happening in the community. He's very creative. Also, he takes initiative very well, as indicated by the way the book ended. I think one of the best parts of the book is one of the first times Jonas recieves a memory. Snow, to be more specific. I think at that point in the book, Jonas had come to the realization that there were things past his community, and what everyone living there had been deprived of.
Second, the Committee of Elders is probably the most ignorant group of people ever portrayed in a book. Ultimately, they decide who lives and who doesn't, and what everyone one of those living people get to do, say, and think. Why would anyone be under the impression that they are able to decide those type of things for other people? Memories is a whole other thing. Why would you purposely want to delete certain memories from people's minds? You would think that someone would stop and say, "Hey, maybe we shouldn't completely brainwash our entire population." But wait, there's that one person that says "Let's just force the memories onto some unlucky, unsuspecting person." Great idea, imaginary idiot. Put all the pain in memories of certain things on one person. Then come up with some BS "Oh, we've been watching you. You seem like the best choice for this job." More like, "Hey, sorry kid, but we just picked a name out of a hat, and you just happened to be the one that got put with the job." Guess Jonas showed them.
When I wrote my response when I was halfway through the book, I said that age determines responsibilities, benefits, and drawbacks in the community. After having finished the book, it turns out that age only determines responsibilities and drawbacks. This is because in the long run, there are no benefits to getting older in this book. It may seem like it, but in reality, you're just going to end up doing things that you don't particularly enjoy, and then finally being "released" by your community. How nice of them.
But despite what seems like endless complaints about how things are run in Jonas' community, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The perseverence of Jonas, and how he was able to put popular ideas in his neighborhood aside to do what was right. It may seem kind of cheesy saying all these things about a fictional character in a book, but it's the truth. This book is honestly one of the best I've read in a while. In retrospect, I'm glad I picked this over To Kill A Mockingbird.