I totally liked the initial concept of this book. Imagine a world where you get served up with everything you need, a family, meals and even your job. You do not need to make your own decisions, you only need to obey some simple rules, like not asking any rude question and the precise use of language. This is the sort of controlled world Jonas lives in. Where the community lacks the memories of the world as it was. The social commentary is easily grasped. I was really looking forward to exploring the world Lowry created.
But the novel lacked in execution. Everything was either black or white. There was either individualism or sameness. The community or Elsewhere. Plenty of food in the birth-controlled society or starvation, overpopulation and warfare outside. And although Jonas immediately understood that a life without memories and emotions and individualism was not right, there was never even a hint about how and why the community decided to live this way. We are given to believe that the community abandoned warfare but operates planes and trains pilots. And what about the other communities' receivers of memories? Do they share their memories? They are not even acknowledged.
I understood the concept of 'release' immediately as euthanasia, because even children could be 'released'. But the whole community lacks understanding it, is even looking forward to it, although the Nurturers and Caregivers execute the actual 'release'. I wonder how the society managed to hide the truth from itself.
And for the ending well, I wondered about it. But I, as many others, could put no sense into it. This must be because the whole rest of it lacks sense, too. Sorry, absolutely not my cup of tea.