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The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver (original 1993; edition 2002)

by Lois Lowry

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20,67089671 (4.22)364
JTNguyen's review
"The Giver" takes place sometime in the future and about a young boy's life in his "community." Jonas, the young boy, after receiving his assignment, began to rebel against his community's lifestyle and was forced to make a choice of no return. This is an awesome book! ( )
  JTNguyen | Apr 25, 2012 |
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It's been years since I've read this book and I was awed by how current it still is. This book was published 21 years ago and is STILL the shit! It's perfect for fans of dystopian novels like "The Hunger Games," "Divergent," or "Animal Farm." I can't wait to see the movie adaptation of this, the casting looks phenomenal.

If you're soo behind that you don't even know what the premise is, let me give you a little breakdown. Everything is the same. There is no color, or choice, or ill will. Everyone is polite, well fed, and has a purpose. At the age of twelve all children are assigned a job. Some get to become engineers, birth mothers, laborers, caretakers of the old. But for one young boy, Jonas, he is about to be given the most most honored job of all, the receiver. In order for sameness to exist one lone person must carry the memories of the past, of pain, of love, of confusion. It is a burden no one else gets to bear. As the giver places the memories of generations back into Jonas they both start to wonder. Is it worth trading memories for relative safety and sameness. Was it enough?

Friggin' phenomenal read. There are three other books in The Giver quartet. ( )
  ecataldi | Jul 30, 2014 |
"The Giver" is a dystopian novel for young adults. Jonah, the main character, is a 12 year old raised in a world that is literally flat. The hills have been levelled, there are no colors, and no music Politeness is legally mandatory. When Jonah is given his life assignment, he discovers the horrible truth holding up this strange society. It reads best as a parable about totalitarianism and political correctness.

( )
  HenryKrinkle | Jul 23, 2014 |
I can imagine how, had I been a younger reader, I might have begun reading The Giver and thought this family has it pretty good. Look how well they communicate and get along! It takes an adult's insight and knowledge to immediately see past the narrator's contentment with his lot and to perceive how restricted his life is. This society doesn't impose its restrictions in an ominous way, as in The Hunger Games; rather it's conditioned and self-imposed, which makes it that much more insidious and difficult to change as the hero discovers to his horror. This is the primary takeaway for readers: that we can become our own jailors through forgetting our history, through becoming too self-insulated, from playing life too safely. For a YA audience perhaps the author could have been more explicit in stating why this is wrong, why a life of safety and comfort could ever be a bad thing, but for an adult she has carefully measured this message out to just the right degree. ( )
  Cecrow | Jul 14, 2014 |
Read this when I was younger, but it's still one of my favorite books. Definitely a story that sticks with you no matter what your age. Captivating story that really leaves you wanting more. Please read before you see the movie. ( )
  Tigerlily12 | Jul 9, 2014 |
This book fascinated me when I was a kid. I read it sometime in middle school, but I'm not going to bother figuring out what year it was. Apparently it fascinated a lot of other people as well, but it's one of those books that sticks out from my middle school years. ( )
  bookwormam | Jul 8, 2014 |
I wasn't sure what to expect going in. Loved the slow reveal of what was really going on, though. And after reading Lowry's Newberry speech about it, I also really appreciated the ending, although I wasn't sure what to make of that when I finished the book initially.

Missed reading it as a kid, and I'm so glad I went back for it as an adult, especially before the hype for the movie spoiled the story for me. ( )
  ConnieJo | Jul 7, 2014 |
This is a lovely book that everyone should read. ( )
  klarsenmd | Jun 30, 2014 |
One of the things I love about this book is that it can be read in so many different ways, and it opens itself up to conversation. Every time I've read, I've come away with a completely different feeling towards it. And yes, like so many, I first read this book as required reading in Junior High, and it's one of the few that stuck with me. ( )
  Stormydawnc | Jun 23, 2014 |
The Giver deserves its status as a classic dystopian novel. Probably best read as an adolescent but since it came out when I was 23 I didn't have that choice.

In some ways it is a pastiche of previous dystopian novels. The breeding, control and tracking of children is from Brave New World -- albeit without the hierarchy. The "sameness" that is the goal of the society is from Harrison Bergeron, although the society in The Giver has executed more effectively on it. The population control and euphemistically termed "release" is from countless places including Logan's Run. The lack of any books is reminiscent of Fahrenheit 451. And I don't need to say where the ubiquitous speakers and monitoring come from.

That said, The Giver fuses these elements together with a light touch that presents a creative vision of an alternative society, some interesting characters, a decent plot that keeps you engaged, and a somewhat stereotyped but still interesting exploration of the clash between ignorant bliss and the pains and rewards that come from knowledge and freedom. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Originally posted at Read. Run. Study.

The Giver was immensely popular among my classmates in middle school. I am not sure why I didn’t read it at the time, but I wish I had because I think I may have liked it more if I had read it then. As it stands, I feel like I missed something. Everyone and their brother seems to love The Giver. I wanted to love it, but I didn’t. I liked it well enough, but I didn’t think it was amazing.

While I appreciated Lowry’s message regarding the importance of individual choices and feelings, the world just didn’t make sense to me. I can suspend a good deal of disbelief, but I couldn’t figure out how the population lost color vision, how they lost the ability to love, how they controlled the weather, etc. Basically, I couldn’t figure out how this society was supposed to have come into existence. It just didn’t make sense. Sometimes I can look past a world that doesn’t make sense to me and thoroughly enjoy the story anyway. Unfortunately, I felt like the book was too short to really get the story going. While there were a few parts I liked, the plot and characters ultimately fell flat for me.

Overall, I wouldn’t discourage someone from reading The Giver. I think it is worthwhile to read if only because everyone seems to have and it is a short, easy read. However, I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it. ( )
  readrunstudy | Jun 21, 2014 |
When Jonas turns 12, he is singled out for special training from The Giver. The Giver holds all the memories of the community. Only he knows about pain and pleasure. Now Jonas as his replacement must be given all the memories or history fo the way the community was before the changes.

Currently the community knows only sameness. They are always taken care of. There are no colours in their life. When Jonas learns during his training that any children that don't make the standard are euthanized, he questions the entire concept of the utopian life that has been created. With assistance of The Giver, he escapes taking with him the child his father had voted to have euthanized. With the knowledge he had received as the next Receiver of Knowledge, he learned about love which led him to flee with the child who he wished to save. ( )
  lamour | Jun 18, 2014 |
I am seriously torn! On one hand, I liked the ambiguity and the euphemistic descriptions of a creepy way of life, but I was likewise underwhelmed by this dystopian tale. ( )
  Debra_Armbruster | Jun 16, 2014 |
I'm sure I read this book growing up, but I don't remember it. Regardless, reading it as an adult offers so much more. It is very thought provoking, It will leave the reader feeling grateful for everyday things we take for granted. Highly recommend. ( )
  Alie | Jun 11, 2014 |
After careful consideration Jonah is chosen by the Elders as the Receiver of Memories. Jonah quickly realizes he has to decide between what he has been raised to believe is right, and what he is learning is right.
  kfh2 | Jun 8, 2014 |
I first read this novel in 8th grade, and it is still one of my favorite novels to this day. It was the very first novel I ever enjoyed reading. I remember that I couldn't put the book down because I was so intrigued by the story! The Giver is set in a seemingly utopian society, one without an negative feelings (such as fear or pain), but also one without any positive feelings either. Everyone is polite, everyone is peaceful, and everyone has their role in society, but no one has any say in what that role shall be. The story surrounds Jonas, an 11-year-old boy who is about to take part in the Ceremony of Twelve, where he will find out what his adult role in society shall be. In a society where everyone is the same, Jonas stands out in more ways than one. When he is assigned to be the Receiver of Memory, he must endure the happiness and pain of everyone in the town, transmitted to him through the Giver. This book is brilliantly written with a fascinating, unique plot line.
  ErinnnPratt | Jun 8, 2014 |
Lois Lowry is a master of creating extremely realistic books that explore fascinating and imaginative ideas. The amount of detail she writes into every day life makes the world she creates very identifiable. In this book, she starts out describing a young boy and a regular sounding life and then slowly introduces what is different about his life and community, easing you into it like wading slowly into cold water. It's an interesting world she creates and I am definitely sucked in and will be reading the next in the quartet (which is a loosely connected series, something I've not read before). ( )
  mccooln | Jun 8, 2014 |
I'm so happy I read this book, I was expecting something completely different and what I got was so much more meaningful and profound that anything I imagined. ( )
  Yvaine_Thorn | Jun 7, 2014 |
I was really excited that I finally had an opportunity to read this book. It is one that most people are familiar with, but I myself have never read. I actually didn't realize what it was even about. I like the flow of the book. It was a fairly easy read and I found myself getting lost in what was going on. At first I was wondering what direction the book was going to go in. I understood what was going on, but I wasn't seeing what the significance was. It picks up a little more at the end. Overall I think it was a good book. I think the ended could have been done a bit better. It could have been a little stronger or a little more concrete, but that is how I personally like my endings to be. This would be a challenge for children to read. This would be a good middle school or even high school read as well as adults. It has a good message about how being different is ok and how having feelings doesn't make us weak. It involves some higher thinking to really absorb what the book is trying to convey and a group discussion would be really helpful. It would be a good classroom read.
  ediekm1990 | Jun 5, 2014 |
The Giver, the first of a trilogy, was first published in 1993, and is as riveting as any of the stories of its kind. I don't believe it's too assuming to say that this award winning, young adult novel has been an inspiration for dystopian societies in novels of today. There is an innocence to The Giver that I haven't experienced so genuinly in any other novel in this genre. I'm so glad I finally read this. ( )
  LauraT81 | Jun 5, 2014 |
This was a really interesting book..especially the ending. Very powerful... ( )
  Dmtcer | Jun 3, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this book and would use this in my classroom for the students to read. The theme of this book is memory the giver has been stored with all the memories and will pass these memories down to Jonas since he is the new memories receiver. The concept of the book is to live in a society that is planned out and nothing bad happens. This is an interesting part of the book because it is really hard to plan the best for everything with nothing ever going wrong. I would use this in the classroom for a chapter book and discuss the importance in the classroom. I would also do some reading aloud with this book since some kids can struggle with word choice. ( )
  AliciaFine | Jun 3, 2014 |
Everything is set for you where Jonas and his family live. Everyone has their job, their family, etc., assigned to them. Everything is very black and white (though the people seem to literally only see bland colors as well). And everything is perfect, peaceful, and orderly. The residents either follow the rules or they're released.

We join the story right around the time that Jonas is about to get the job assignment he'll have for the rest of his life. But during the ceremony he gets a big surprise for his assignment, he's the new receiver.

He goes every day to sit with an old man who he calls The Giver and a whole new world opens up to him.

This is one of the best books that I have ever read and my favorite teen/children's book. I've never read descriptions of colors that are that amazing since. And while it is definitely geared for younger readers, it is like a good animated film in that it appeals and can be read by any age group and enjoyed (or studied too) by everyone.

At least a five star book, if not even more stars. ( )
  DanieXJ | May 28, 2014 |
I regret not reading this book as a child because I am sure I would have enjoyed it much more. Overall, the writing is very weak. The plot development and pacing leaves much to be desired and Lowry spends too much time building up to the climax relative to the page length. You could almost start fifty pages or so in and be fine in terms of comprehension. Her diction and syntax do improve as the book progresses, but oh my does this author love gerunds, comma splices, and adverbs. I had to read a few of her sentences multiple times in order to understand exactly what she was trying to say because they were divided into three or four splices and not in sequential or logical order.

I also had a bit of a problem believing the soft science fiction elements of this book. The dystopian society is very similar to those found in Logan's Run and 1984, but without much explication. Even as a child, I would have guffawed over certain ideas presented for which Lowry does not provide any explanation, such as how exactly the scientists in this world were able to make people colour blind.

Finally, this isn't about The Giver directly, but I must say that I thought about reading the other books in the quartet until I read the synopses and realised Lowry is a one trick pony. The whole "special child lives in an oppressive society which doesn't like it when children are special, so that child must learn to accept her/himself to overcome adversity" can only be rehashed so many ways. ( )
  hovercraftofeels | May 28, 2014 |
Talking with friends, they were surprised I hadn't read The Giver. I was about 1/2 way through and believed it to be an okay book. After finishing it realized it was very good. I haven't read the other three books in the series and I am sure it will get better on many different levels.
  bibliophile_pgh | May 10, 2014 |
Overall, I felt like this was an average book and kind of a struggle to get through. The first element that I found average was the story itself. The plot didn’t really keep my interest the entire time. For instance, I felt the early middle part of the story dragged right before and after Jonas received the news that he would be the new giver. The second element was the character development. I actually enjoyed this part of the story and as a reader we were able to gain an understanding of the things running through Jonas’s head such as deciding whether to escape the town with the baby that he had grown very fond of. The third element of the story was the style of the author. I felt the word choice found throughout the story was interesting considering the time period in which this story was published. In the end, I felt the main message of this book was to not always accept the rules of society because if you look close enough, you may see injustice underneath.
  tricha11 | May 9, 2014 |
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