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The Giver by Lois Lowry
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The Giver (original 1993; edition 2002)

by Lois Lowry

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21,23193866 (4.21)402
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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The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.

Well, I just super didn't care about anything in this book. You remember when I said in my review of Divergent that it didn't matter that nothing made sense because it was fast paced and fun? This was like the opposite of that. I was just so bored – I couldn't get invested in any of the characters because they didn't seem like real people. I know that's part of the conceit, but for god's sake. So much time was spent just talking about the mechanics of the world without anything actually going on, just... lots and lots of explaining. And then we get to the part with The Giver. And it is totally stupid. How in god's name did they remove all of the colour from the world or remove your ability to see it? Ugh. That's only the beginning of the stupidity, but there you go.

Sigh. I know I'm probably being unfair, but I didn't give a shit about what happened to Jonas. He gets to the age of adulthood, gets a job, turns out it's kind of a shitty job and kind of a great job at the same time, realises his parents aren't who he thought they were, and runs away from home. So what? This just doesn't say anything for the wider ramifications of what is happening in his world. It doesn't say anything about anything. Also I didn't quite believe that his dad was just a complete baby-murderer who behaved completely normally the rest of time. And who builds up a relationship with this little boy only to have him sentenced to death? It just doesn't really seem plausible. . Plus it kind of felt like all the different kinds of love – familial, friendship, romantic, sexual, and humanitarian, and so on, were all conflated and not really treated as separate and different phenomena. I don't think it was really well enough explored in terms of the different virtues and faults of suppressing each of these in turn. I'm not really sure what kind of point Lowry was trying to make. Trying to control entire populations to this level is bad? Shared memory makes our society more whole? Killing babies is wrong? I just don't feel like anyone gains anything from reading this that they wouldn't gain from reading 1984 and I think at the point that a child is ready for this book, they're only a few years at most off being ready for that one and they might as well wait.

Also I hate the ending. I feel like it was just one incredibly stupid set of events and then nothing happens and the books ends and you get to make up your own mind! Jesus. Nope. I was not about this book at all.

However, that said, I didn't HATE it. And the writing is nice in places, if a little sparse. And I'm nothing if not generous. I give The Giver (snerk) four out of ten.
  humblewomble | Oct 19, 2014 |
“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”

The Giver tells the story of Jonas, an eleven-year old boy living in an ‘ideal’ dystopian society where everyone lives complacently without pain, fear or emotion of any kind. Babies are born to Birthmothers and then become assigned to family units. Children are given medication daily in order to repress their sexual urges. People are assigned spouses based on their compatibility with one another. Each individuals purpose in society is also assigned at the Ceremony of Twelve where they are told what their job will be for the rest of their living lives. It’s at this Ceremony when Jonas is informed that he is being given the honor of becoming the new Receiver of Memory, the sole holder of all community memories, including the painful memories of the past. The Giver, the old man that Jonas will be replacing as the Receiver of Memory, begins to transfer all of his memories straight to Jonas. From these memories Jonas is able to see the flaws of his world and of it could be, a world with emotion and where people have the freedom to choose.

The Giver opens with the understanding that all members of this society are living in a Utopia as everyone is content and satisfied living in their impossibly ideal living conditions. No one questions this, it’s just become a fact of their lives. When Jonas turns twelve and is introduced to a vastly different version of his world, he at least begins to understand how far from perfect their society truly is. Everything is pre-determined with everyone living their lives akin to a robot doing only what they are told and what is expected of them. In that regards, I had a similar reaction when I read The Handmaid’s Tale about the scary possibility of how different life ‘could be’. With that read though, the world-building aspects were much more on point. The Giver had a complete lack of explanation when it came to how this society came to be. The only thing we as a reader are given is that in order to eliminate pain and suffering they had to remove/give up their memories. The end result was society didn’t spend time dwelling on past pains and their lack of memories meant they would never be repeated again. But how did this happen? How did they transfer all past memories to one single individual. It’s an incredibly interesting concept but I needed a little bit more detail for it all to make good solid sense. Adding to that, once Jonas is in possession of the memories and history of the society, he immediately begins to rebel against it all. The reasoning behind his immediate decision was sketchy at best and slightly unbelievable but I think for the reader (especially a young reader) it was a hard one to question since we already knew that the society was flawed and knew if we were in that situation we would also run far, far away from it.

I’ve been meaning to read this book for a long time. Being a fan of dystopian I’ve come across to many books being compared to The Giver I had to see for myself whether these comparisons were accurate. My 13 year old step-daughter came home with it one day and told me about her class assigning it to read and a few days later after having finished it she praised it lavishly and recommended I read it so we could talk about it. Can’t say no to that. While I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as she did, I think it’s an important novel and an interesting concept to consider. It’s eye-opening in the sense that it makes us realize in comparison just how many freedoms we personally have. The Giver is all about controlling thoughts and feelings, the censorship of emotions. Kind of ironic that it’s being censored/banned in our school systems, no? ( )
  bonniemarjorie | Oct 16, 2014 |
(6)
  mshampson | Oct 15, 2014 |
I really loved this book because it made me think of a world like a utopia and how it would be like living in one. The story was great even if it was worrisome or sad at times. This book will give children things to think about in terms of an alternate life to the world we live in today. ( )
  TeresaCruz | Oct 11, 2014 |
I simply loved this book. I picked it up to read in honor of Banned Books Week, and I'm glad I did.

Jonas lives in a quasi-Utopian society where everything is strictly laid out for them. From birth to death, the people follow the rules, or are "released". When the children turn twelve, they are placed in their job, and Jonas is selected to be the next Receiver of Memories, a rare and honored position in the society. As the Receiver, he uncovers things that he didn't know, and did not want to know, about his life and the lives of those around him. He and the former Receiver (now the Giver) are left with their singular knowledge of life and are faced with the hard choices that come with the knowledge of both good and evil.

Definitely not an uplifting book, but one that will stay with you afterwards. ( )
  GovMarley | Oct 7, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this book. It really emphasized how important it is to enjoy life how it is. I'd recommend this to middle school kids because it had a good concept to it.
  thatsohaley | Oct 3, 2014 |
In my opinion, “The Giver” is a good book for older children because it emphasizes the value of life’s journey. The story not only teaches children a lesson on how to enjoy life while it lasts, but also demonstrates how to capture the enjoyable moments as much as possible. One of the qualities that I like about this book is that the plot of the story is very relevant to children growing up. In “The Giver” a career is chosen for you when you are eleven years old. The story starts with 11year old Jonas, who is apprehensive about the upcoming Ceremony where he will be assigned a job or his "assignment in the community." In his society little or no privacy is allowed; even private houses have two-way intercoms that are used in order to listen in for infractions of the rules. However, the rules appear to be readily accepted by all, including Jonas. So it is without real protest that he initially accepts with his selection as the Receiver of Memories, a job he is told will be filled with pain and the training for which will isolate him from his family and friends forever. “I don't know what you mean when you say 'the whole world' or 'generations before him. 'I thought there was only us. I thought there was only now.” Another quality of the book I enjoyed was when Jonas took the little baby Gabe with him outside of their world to save it. “Things could change, Gabe," Jonas went on. "Things could be different. I don't know how, but there must be some way for things to be different. There could be colors. And grandparents," he added, staring through the dimness toward the ceiling of his sleeping room. "And everybody would have the memories." As the story progresses, the audience is able to feel the adrenaline when Jonas is seeing into the past when memories are given to him by the giver. The consequence of receiving the memories is not telling anyone, not even his family or friends, what the memories consists of when in training. “The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.” The big idea of the story is that children need to understand and be thankful for our memories that we can share and pass down from one generation to the next. ( )
  kflach1 | Oct 1, 2014 |
This futuristic and book tells the story of 11 year old Jonas who lives in a world where there is no pain, fear, war, or hatred. Because of this the society does not have the ability to feel love or have any emotions. I think this book is perfect for a 5th or 6th grade class because it helps kids think critically about our world and then compare it to a futuristic world with no feelings or emotions.
  Jclark5 | Oct 1, 2014 |
I liked this book a great deal although I found it a little hard to warm to it, in the way that I have to some other YA novels lately. That said, it's very well written and I wanted to find out more. I was a little disappointed that more wasn't revealed... for me, the interest is in how these dystopian futures actually get to the point at which we are reading about them. Looking forward to the movie. ( )
  EllenAllen | Sep 29, 2014 |
Okay so the last time I read The Giver was 8 years ago and I loved every second of it. Not much has changed other than the fact that I read it much faster now! Still love this story and the ideas Lois Lowry presents. Have to read Gathering Blue and Messenger again soon and then read Son for the first time. Ready to see the movie now! Hoping they didn't destroy it! ( )
  tielwingsmama | Sep 29, 2014 |
Okay so the last time I read The Giver was 8 years ago and I loved every second of it. Not much has changed other than the fact that I read it much faster now! Still love this story and the ideas Lois Lowry presents. Have to read Gathering Blue and Messenger again soon and then read Son for the first time. Ready to see the movie now! Hoping they didn't destroy it! ( )
  tielwingsmama | Sep 29, 2014 |
Okay so the last time I read The Giver was 8 years ago and I loved every second of it. Not much has changed other than the fact that I read it much faster now! Still love this story and the ideas Lois Lowry presents. Have to read Gathering Blue and Messenger again soon and then read Son for the first time. Ready to see the movie now! Hoping they didn't destroy it! ( )
  tielwingsmama | Sep 29, 2014 |
Had I read The Giver when it first came out in 1993 at a young age when I was still forming ideas about people and the world at large, I have no doubt it would have had a profound affect on me. Since it's first publication the ideas used here have appeared elsewhere, most notably in the movie Equilibrium and the book [b:The Handmaid's Tale|820689|The Handmaid's Tale|Margaret Atwood|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1178674786s/820689.jpg|1119185]. As an adult it has less of an effect but I can appreciate the lessons it tries to teach to the young minds it's aimed at.

I was a little confused at times and there was no real characterisation probably due to the adherence of "sameness" and lack of emotion hindering individuality and depth. However, I would have liked to have been given the history of how the community became what it was and what led to the imposition of the Rules and the Pills. The ending was frustrating as many dystopian novels seem to leave the reader guessing as to what befalls the main character, whether victory or tragedy, it's never clear.

For a young adult book this is very dark but necessarily so. I would recommend this to all children as a necessary rite of passage to learn that life is not a fairy tale, to be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy and our ability to choose our own fates. ( )
  Cynical_Ames | Sep 23, 2014 |
I read all four books in The Giver Quartet in succession in about a week. This is definitely one to make you think about the government, religious, politics, emotions and life in any society. I didn't think I was going to enjoy it as I had to get it out of Juvenile section of the library, but boy was I wrong! Definitely a series I will read with my kids one day and I would recommend it for everyone. Messenger was my favorite in the series, but I think they are all must reads! ( )
  KatieEmilySmith | Sep 23, 2014 |
Re-read the Giver after seeing the giant cliff in the trailer and thinking, "Aren't there supposed to be hills?"

Answer: yes, but it's OK. I get it. It's the future.

Gotta say, this book gets better with age. While it does skim over some of the emotions the Giver transferred to Jonas in the middle of the book, it kept it simplistic so a lower-YA aged child could read it as well.

I couldn't imagine knowing what Jonas knew and not being able to share it with anyone. ( )
  LillianGraves | Sep 23, 2014 |
Re-read the Giver after seeing the giant cliff in the trailer and thinking, "Aren't there supposed to be hills?"

Answer: yes, but it's OK. I get it. It's the future.

Gotta say, this book gets better with age. While it does skim over some of the emotions the Giver transferred to Jonas in the middle of the book, it kept it simplistic so a lower-YA aged child could read it as well.

I couldn't imagine knowing what Jonas knew and not being able to share it with anyone. ( )
  LillianGraves | Sep 23, 2014 |
Imagine living in a world where everything is the Same. There is no color. There is no weather. There are no hills. There is no sunshine, wind, or rain. The world is defined by Sameness. Everything is controlled, from when you got your first bike (age 9), to when you are assigned your role in the community (age 12). People are "released" when they are too old. If twins are born, the "runt" is "released." Sexuality and reproduction is controlled. This is the world that Jonas lives in.

When Jonas turns 12, he is selected to become the Receiver. There is only one Receiver at a time, and the current Receiver who "trains" him becomes "The Giver." Leading up to this ceremony where he is selected, the reader begins to understand how regimented the community is, how controlled, how even-balanced it all is. Once Jonas becomes the Receiver, the reader begins to understand why things are the way they are. There are still questions though. What exactly does being "released" mean? It's easy to guess, but watching Jonas' father release a twin baby boy through Jonas' eyes removes all doubts.

At the same time that Jonas is selected to be the new Receiver, his father (a Nurturer) brings home a "baby" named Gabriel who has been given a reprieve from release, for the next year. He had been a colicky baby, and fussed a lot at night. Jonas' father was able to get special permission to bring Gabe home with him at night to care for him to see if things improved. Gabe had special, light-colored eyes, similar to Jonas. Is Gabe a potential future Receiver?

Gabe does not sleep well, until Jonas begins taking care of him at night and sharing memories to soothe him. The family is convinced that Gabe is ok now, and ready to be placed in a home and he is taken back to the Nurturing facility to await placement. However, once away from Jonas, he goes back to fussing all night and the decision to release him is made. By now, Jonas knows the ramifications of release and although the Giver and he had started to develop a "plan" to change things in the community, Jonas cannot stand by and allow Gabe to be released.

The end of the book finds Jonas and Gabe on a journey to escape... will they make it to Elsewhere? Find help? Start a new life? Or will they perish? ( )
  recipe_addict | Sep 21, 2014 |
Imagine living in a world where everything is the Same. There is no color. There is no weather. There are no hills. There is no sunshine, wind, or rain. The world is defined by Sameness. Everything is controlled, from when you got your first bike (age 9), to when you are assigned your role in the community (age 12). People are "released" when they are too old. If twins are born, the "runt" is "released." Sexuality and reproduction is controlled. This is the world that Jonas lives in.

When Jonas turns 12, he is selected to become the Receiver. There is only one Receiver at a time, and the current Receiver who "trains" him becomes "The Giver." Leading up to this ceremony where he is selected, the reader begins to understand how regimented the community is, how controlled, how even-balanced it all is. Once Jonas becomes the Receiver, the reader begins to understand why things are the way they are. There are still questions though. What exactly does being "released" mean? It's easy to guess, but watching Jonas' father release a twin baby boy through Jonas' eyes removes all doubts.

At the same time that Jonas is selected to be the new Receiver, his father (a Nurturer) brings home a "baby" named Gabriel who has been given a reprieve from release, for the next year. He had been a colicky baby, and fussed a lot at night. Jonas' father was able to get special permission to bring Gabe home with him at night to care for him to see if things improved. Gabe had special, light-colored eyes, similar to Jonas. Is Gabe a potential future Receiver?

Gabe does not sleep well, until Jonas begins taking care of him at night and sharing memories to soothe him. The family is convinced that Gabe is ok now, and ready to be placed in a home and he is taken back to the Nurturing facility to await placement. However, once away from Jonas, he goes back to fussing all night and the decision to release him is made. By now, Jonas knows the ramifications of release and although the Giver and he had started to develop a "plan" to change things in the community, Jonas cannot stand by and allow Gabe to be released.

The end of the book finds Jonas and Gabe on a journey to escape... will they make it to Elsewhere? Find help? Start a new life? Or will they perish? ( )
  recipe_addict | Sep 21, 2014 |
Imagine living in a world where everything is the Same. There is no color. There is no weather. There are no hills. There is no sunshine, wind, or rain. The world is defined by Sameness. Everything is controlled, from when you got your first bike (age 9), to when you are assigned your role in the community (age 12). People are "released" when they are too old. If twins are born, the "runt" is "released." Sexuality and reproduction is controlled. This is the world that Jonas lives in.

When Jonas turns 12, he is selected to become the Receiver. There is only one Receiver at a time, and the current Receiver who "trains" him becomes "The Giver." Leading up to this ceremony where he is selected, the reader begins to understand how regimented the community is, how controlled, how even-balanced it all is. Once Jonas becomes the Receiver, the reader begins to understand why things are the way they are. There are still questions though. What exactly does being "released" mean? It's easy to guess, but watching Jonas' father release a twin baby boy through Jonas' eyes removes all doubts.

At the same time that Jonas is selected to be the new Receiver, his father (a Nurturer) brings home a "baby" named Gabriel who has been given a reprieve from release, for the next year. He had been a colicky baby, and fussed a lot at night. Jonas' father was able to get special permission to bring Gabe home with him at night to care for him to see if things improved. Gabe had special, light-colored eyes, similar to Jonas. Is Gabe a potential future Receiver?

Gabe does not sleep well, until Jonas begins taking care of him at night and sharing memories to soothe him. The family is convinced that Gabe is ok now, and ready to be placed in a home and he is taken back to the Nurturing facility to await placement. However, once away from Jonas, he goes back to fussing all night and the decision to release him is made. By now, Jonas knows the ramifications of release and although the Giver and he had started to develop a "plan" to change things in the community, Jonas cannot stand by and allow Gabe to be released.

The end of the book finds Jonas and Gabe on a journey to escape... will they make it to Elsewhere? Find help? Start a new life? Or will they perish? ( )
  recipe_addict | Sep 21, 2014 |
The book was about a Utopian community that is structured around strict rules which included no color, emotion, feelings war and much more. A boy named Jonas is assigned a special job where he can view memories that no one else in the community can see except for "The Giver." He uses his job title to devise a plan that will bring an end to the Utopian community he is living in.
  astinchavez | Sep 17, 2014 |
The best way to describe The Giver's world is by saying this:
Imagine living in a world without metaphor.
There.
You have it. ( )
  sarafwilliams | Sep 13, 2014 |
The best way to describe The Giver's world is by saying this:
Imagine living in a world without metaphor.
There.
You have it. ( )
  sarafwilliams | Sep 13, 2014 |
I love this book. From the first time I read it I was hooked. I think the idea of a society that has been stripped clean of everything and it being almost a white washed place is a very imaginative way to look at how our own society itself works in comparison. The idea of a place that lacks color and emotion is intriguing and getting to see a child's eyes opened to the memories of what life was like before the change is interesting. I think we would all feel similar to the way the young boy feels. ( )
  MrShawnsLilLady | Sep 12, 2014 |
Great storyline, exciting plot, unfortunately, I felt a bit like Jonus at the end, as though I had just discovered what "release" was. I hate books that end like this; it always feels like a cop-out to me. ( )
  C1ndyluhu | Sep 3, 2014 |
As a person who reads as much as I do and loves dystopian fiction it is surprising that I had not read [The Giver] by [Lois Lowry] before now. It has been in my classroom for years and on "my list" but I never got around to it. Now with it coming out as a movie(which I will never see because the book is ALWAYS better), I decided to read it.

It reminded me of [Fahrenheit 451] by [Ray Bradbury]. The concept of a sterilized society without creativity has been around for a long time. [Lowry] puts the reliance of society's memory on a child. It becomes his responsibility to remember and protect them from their own history. The Sameness is their protection but at what cost?

Overall I enjoyed [The Giver] and hope all my students read it. ( )
  MsHooker | Sep 1, 2014 |
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