YVO’S SHORTIES #59 – The Giver & The Giving Tree

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time two ‘giving’ stories and two modern classics… The Giver by Lois Lowry and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I probably would have enjoyed these better if I would have read them a long time ago, because at this point they didn’t make the impact I thought they would.


Title: The Giver
(The Giver #1)
Author: Lois Lowry

Genre: YA, Dystopia, Science Fiction
First published: April 26th 1993
Publisher: Ember
Finished reading: October 28th 2018 
Pages: 208

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”


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Warning: unpopular opinion ahead… First of all, I have to say that I probably would have enjoyed this book a lot better if I would have read it 15-20 year ago. I have been meaning to read this so-called modern classic for years, and I think the story itself has a bigger impact on younger readers than adults. That said, the worldbuilding and story of The Giver reminded me a bit of Brave New World with a new twist. It was quite an interesting take on a dystopian world, where everything is controlled in such a way everything seems the same. This contrast with Jonas and his experiences once he starts training as a Receiver on its own is fascinating. Especially as he starts discovering more about his world and his eyes are truly opened… But somehow, I wasn’t able to enjoy the actual story as much as I thought I would. This is probably just me and not the story, especially since this modern classic is so loved. I’m glad I did finally read The Giver though, as I finally know exactly what the story is all about.


Title: The Giving Tree
Author: Shel Silverstein

Genre: Children, Picture Book, Fiction
First published: October 7th 1964
Publisher: HarperCollins
Finished reading: October 30th 2018
Pages: 64

“… and she loved a boy very, very much– even more than she loved herself.”


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I have been meaning to read this picture book classic for ages now… When I came across my copy the other day I picked it up on a whim. I can see the appeal of The Giving Tree, where the tree is like a mother to the little boy, and the writing style is spot on and really flows. BUT. I did have my doubts about the message behind this story. Why? Well, the tree isn’t exactly treated with respect and only gives and gives and gives without ever receiving much in return… Not exactly a healthy relationship I would want to show to my kids. Especially since this message is never questioned and even when the little boy grows up to be old the relationship still doesn’t feel equal. Maybe I’m overthinking this, but it still made me feel slightly uncomfortable as children tend to soak up everything like a sponge.


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BOOK REVIEW: Along Came A Spider – by James Patterson

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Title: Along Came A Spider
(Alex Cross Series #1)

Author: James Patterson
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: 1993
Finished reading: February 4th 2014
Pages: 435
Rating 3

“It’s a common enough psych term,” I told him. “All of us shrinks talk about VFC when we get together. Very fucking crazy, Gerry.”

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Ok, so I said to myself I wouldn’t read another Patterson for a while. But I guess I just couldn’t resist in the end… I was looking for some easy reading before chewing on some classics, and there is nothing better than a novel written by James Patterson. I chose  to read the first of the Alex Cross series, partly because I couldn’t remember reading it before. It didn’t wow me, but it did the job: easy entertaining and a brain now ready for some real literature.

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In this first of a long row of books in this series, the world is introduced to African-American Detective Alex Cross. He is trying to get over the violent death of his wife (although nothing is explained about how that happened), and lives with Nana Mama and his two children. Then the world is shocked by the kidnapping of two children with famous parents. The kidnapper is Gary Soneji, the math teacher at their school, and soon a man hunt starts… But Gary is a true psychopath and a serial killer and hard to catch. And things are not as they seem… It is a real challenge for Cross and his parter Sampson to catch the kidnapper, who is leaving a trail of deaths behind him. And it becomes even complicated when he starts an affair with Jezzie Flanagan, who was in charge of the two Secret Service agents employed to protect the two children…

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Not a bad read, I guess it serves its purpose. As long as you don’t expect the next Nobel prize for literature and don’t mind the sometimes tacky references to the whole racism theme, you won’t have problems with this novel.