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The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver (original 1993; edition 2002)

by Lois Lowry

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20,82790770 (4.22)381
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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This first book in the Giver Quartet stands the test of time. A fascinating take on a possible futuristic society, this book is the kind of Science Fiction like George Orwell or Ray Bradbury that make us question ourselves and our direction as a society. All four books are worthy of reading, though they are best enjoyed if you do not read the synopses first. Also I recommend getting a special edition of the Quartet, as I enjoyed the illustrated map of the communities from the first three books by Lois Lowry herself. There were also Reader questions at the end and special interviews, where I learned that Lois created the book covers herself. A great gift for an avid reader of any age. ( )
  Meghanista | Aug 25, 2014 |
Rating: 4.5 of 5

Quick, easy read that reminded me there ARE great middle grade/YA books yet to discover. And guess what? NO love triangles - yay! Full review to come. ( )
  flying_monkeys | Aug 24, 2014 |
I loved this book set in a future society where life is highly controlled. It was dark and frightening in a subdued way but it managed this without gruesome violence. The ending was a bit sentimental but a note of hope can only be a good thing. ( )
  rosiezbanks | Aug 22, 2014 |
I picked this book up at a goodwill store and never knew it was a required reading for most people. I never had to read it but I am very glad I picked it up. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
For a contributing citizen to be released from the community was a final decision, a terrible punishment, an overwhelming statement of failure.

Surprisingly I never had to read The Giver when I was in school. I decided to read it now before the movie version comes out so that I could compare the two should I decide to see the movie. While I did enjoy this book I did not enjoy the ending. I'll get more into the ending later but first let's discuss what comes before.

Jonas was definitely a good character to follow as he becomes the new Receiver. It was interesting to read his reactions to his sessions with the Giver and see how they affected his view of his community. I thought the community was really interesting and would have loved to have learned more about it, specifically the different jobs the people had, as opposed to always following Jonas.

I hate ambiguous endings. When I read a book I want resolution and I want an end. I don't want to have to make up my own version of what I thought happened. (The only ambiguous type ending that I actually enjoyed was Gone With the Wind, that left readers wondering whether Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara will end up together again.) The ending of this book was definitely left to the interpretation of the reader. I felt so invested in the story and couldn't wait to see what happened with Jonas and what happened with the community that this ending felt abrupt and not satisfying.

Overall I felt that this was an interesting read and I do feel that this would be a perfect book for highschoolers to read. I'm sure other people have made more in-depth reviews of this book with much more insight than mine but all I can really say is that I enjoyed this and would definitely recommend that everyone, sometime in their life, read this book. ( )
  dpappas | Aug 12, 2014 |
It is the concept of this book that really drives you, not necessarily the writing or actual plot. The story is one that starts discussions, brings thoughts of "what if" to mind. It is a brilliant idea, with an ending that is not quite an ending, making those who take the subject seriously want to dive quickly into the next book of the series. ( )
  mirrani | Aug 10, 2014 |
Huh to the what?! Makes zero sense why this book is so popular. Chalk it up to a lame fad. Story was minimally interesting with flat ,non-descript characters. I'll pass. ( )
  abigail33 | Aug 10, 2014 |
This was an okay read. I didn't hate it, but it wasn't good enough for me to go see the film. It just wasn't. I may or may not read the rest of the trilogy. ( )
  mreed61 | Aug 10, 2014 |
I liked this book until the end- which sucked!
I'm not in for Hollywood type endings and don't know how she could have ended this, but I really disliked
this ending.
The story seemed to led one to a hopeful righting of wrongs, a striving of what's right only to fall flat - thus, is the answer don't even try? why bother? - because it won't do any good anyway!?????? ( )
1 vote KarenHerndon | Aug 6, 2014 |
3.5 stars
I've read a lot of dystopian novels recently, so maybe that's why it didn't make as lasting of an impact. Overall though, a good book. Full of meaning, without the depressing heaviness that can accompany the topic matter. It was a little slow for the first few chapters, but then it really picked up pace. I think it was well written, especially as the lack of color was a complete surprise to me. I'm looking forward to seeing how the story progresses. ( )
  lyssa73 | Aug 2, 2014 |
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 may take 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. ( )
1 vote 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 |
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