I originally picked up the book to familiarize myself with the story line in case I wanted to see the movie. It is a foible of mine to read the book first then see how much leeway the film takes with the plot line. Having not yet taken the time to view the film this review stands on the book alone..
The book takes a peak into a future Utopian society where 'sameness' in is a thing to be embraced. There is no diversity, no race, no color, no sex and certainly no memories of what life was like in the past when wars raged and society was in turmoil. Babies are born using birth mothers who job it is to have the baby by artificial insemination.
Once the babies are born then a decisions is made whether to then turn them over to families who will raise them as there own until the age of twelve or release them, At the age of twelve children are given their life assignment, the job they will do until the they are Released.
In the world of 'Sameness' no one is allowed to have an opinion outside the established norms and the citizens are not allowed to offend anyone else by questioning why or how things are done. In order to keep the people subdued they must also take their medications each and every day.
To find out what it means to be Released you will need to read the book because I am not going to give it away. Let's just say in the book it is a major plot element.
Jonas, his friends Asher and Fiona are turning into Twelves so they are to be given their life assignments. Asher and Fiona receive their assignments but when it comes times for Jonas he is given the assignment of...wait I don't want to spoil the surprise. The book is so small to give away even a few plot elements would ruin the read for you. Lets just say Jonas turns the world of sameness inside out by some of the choices he makes when he takes on his life assignment. He is the one person who points out the cracks and laws in this Utopia.
The book itself, while small, is a good read for both young and old/ What happens between the front and back covers of 'The Giver' is an eye opening glimpse into what our modern day society is slowly becoming - a world where the only opinion which matters is the one the powers that be put in law.