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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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21,70697861 (4.21)436
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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Both the movie and the book completely captivated me and made my mind reel. The thought of a world without experiencing the things that I take for granted every day is terrifying and completely unfathomable. I love the characters and their interactions and seeing the changes from beginning to end (though the first bits between the Giver and Jonas are a bit uncomfortable to me). It is fascinating to see concepts such as euthanasia and murder in such a light that the characters honestly don't even know that what they are doing is wrong (as long as it is done in the right way). Watching Jonas' character growth and struggles was well worth the read and I am looking forward to picking up another book in the quartet. ( )
  CSTaylor24 | Jan 17, 2015 |
This book haunts me, and that's the mark of a truly amazing book ( )
  IsaboeOfLumatere | Jan 14, 2015 |
The Giver is a book about a boy named Jonas and his life in the dystopian The Community. The book starts with Jonas and his family sitting around the dinner table talking about the feelings they had felt that day. This was a daily ritual that everyone did. It is a few weeks from the ceremony of twelve where the children of the community become adults and Jonas is in it. When it is time for the ceremony Jonas is nervous about what job he would be assigned to for the rest of his life. It turns out that Jonas is to be the Receiver of Memory, an important but mysterious job. On his first day to work Jonas meets a strange man who calls himself the Giver. The Giver explains that his job is to contain all the memories of the old world deemed to dangerous for public use such as weather, pain, war, hills and even color. The Giver slowly transfers all these memories to Jonas. Jonas becomes confused and wonders why these memories should be kept from the community. Then he finds out what happens to people who have been "released". To be released from the community you either have to become very old, break rules or be an infant who is thought to not grow up as a productive community member. Jonas discovers that when someone is released that they are put to death. This is too much for Jonas so he leaves the community along with Gabriel, a baby that was soon to be released. As they leave the community all the memories that the Giver gave to Jonas start to disappear. The book ends with Jonas desperately clinging to memories of love and music.

The Giver i think is an amazing book and it deserves all of its praise. I was confused about the community at first but i began to understand later on in the book when Jonas began to see colors and have actuall bonafide emotions. I thought at first that the entire society was evil and corrupt but then i realized, they didn't really know what they were doing. When Jonas's father realased an infant just because it was a twin he just whistled and carried on with his day. I am confused on how the Giver transfered memories though, they do not explain in the book so i guess we may never know.This book i think is a great piece of literature that shows us to be grateful for the small things in life. ( )
  justiceb.B1 | Jan 13, 2015 |
[Cross-posted to Knite Writes]

I’m not really sure how much I can say about this children’s classic that people haven’t already heard. Obviously, it’s a pretty clear origin point for many, many later dystopian stories, and its themes are fairly similar to much of today’s dystopian fare. Jonas is a young, impressionable, and hopeful protagonist who quickly grows disillusioned with his society when some ugly truths come to light. The social structure consists of the familiar few, older authority figures who control people through constant, 1984-style observation and rigorous, lifelong conditioning.

There’s nothing much in this book that would surprise any reader today, given how popular dystopian has become in the last few years. But I can see how it would have been fairly groundbreaking children’s literature way back in 1993 (when I was, believe it or not, one year old).

Really, I can’t complain about anything in this book, although I will admit I didn’t find it that spectacular. The writing style didn’t really grip me, the characters weren’t that interesting (although they weren’t too boring), and the plot was fairly simplistic despite the somewhat heavy-handed thematic overtones.

In other words, it was a children’s book through and through. Not something I usually pick up. Not something I would have picked up had it not been hailed as a classic.

There isn’t anything wrong with it, per say, given what is is: a didactic children’s story that teaches an important lesson about the nature of sacrifice and the human experience.

So I’m firmly on the middle ground with this one. It’s all right, but it’s not something I found particularly compelling or ingenious. ( )
  TherinKnite | Jan 13, 2015 |
The Giver is a story about a city that has many rules an if people didnt follow them they would be vanished. This story is about Jonas he is eleven and almost twelve. When Jonas tearns twelve he will be given a job beacuse when all the kids who are twelve have to have a job. When its there turn the members of the city will give them a job. When Jonas was next they skip him an at the end they called him up to get his job. The lady said that Jonas has a special job he gets to be the giver. When it was time for Jonas to go to work the Giver said that he will give Jonas memmories about the past. When lots of days went on Jonas didnt like it. So he left with a baby named Gabriel the resson he brought Gabriel is beacuse he was going to be vanished and that ment that they were going to kill him. When they were finally gone from the city Jonas could her something but it was mabye just and echoe. ( )
  EdselC.B1 | Jan 12, 2015 |
As far as YA goes, this is a pretty adult book. The prose itself is fairly simplistic, but the themes are extremely mature and echo those of [b:1984|5470|1984|George Orwell|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348990566s/5470.jpg|153313] and other dystopian fiction. ( )
  tpollack | Jan 11, 2015 |
Jonas, an ordinary 12-year-old boy, who lives in a perfectly systematic community where there is no love, no passion, no war, no color, no disease, and no pain. In this community, every person’s life is governed by a group of people called the Elders. Every year, each child ages on the same day. Every year, they get new privileges, assignments, even orders.

When children become 12, they start to train for their future job that is determined by the Elders. Finally, in his ceremony of 12’s, Jonas walks anxiously but happily to the stage with other 12’s to accept his assigned life work. However, the Elder skips Jonas when announcing his assignment; instead, the Elder declares that Jonas is chosen to be the receiver of memory at the end!

He starts to work with an old person called “The Giver”. He transfers memories of color, warmth, happiness and freedom, and also of war, and death to Jonas. Soon Jonas can see color, and feel warmth. Then, his emotions and desire starts to grow inside of him. This made him feel that he needs freedom from the community to experience the real world where there is color, warmth, love, pain, war, passion, and death. Finally, after not liking the community for so long, he decides he no longer likes or respects his community. Jonas determines to leave the community with his newly assigned brother, Gabriel. Will they find a new place to live and survive in the real world?

This book has an extraordinary idea because it tells me that one needs to feel things, understand one’s feelings and be sensitive to the feelings of others. If there wasn’t pain or loss, you would not cherish the good times. If there wasn’t emotion, how would a person be able to feel passion, love oneself and love others? Life without memory is dull and plain. I would rather live in a world with pain, love, and passion because I can then chose which path I want to follow instead of following one specific path instead of following the dictates of others.

My favorite character is Jonas. He is very brave when he decides to venture out of the community to an unknown world to live with his brother. In this society, people normally would prefer to stay where they are, living a systematic and predictable life.

If I were the author, I would continue the story. It would be interesting to know how Jonas survives in the real world and how he feels and changes.

This book inspires me to rethink the meaning of life. I would rate this book 9 out of 10. I will surely read this book over and over again.
  AB4Books | Jan 8, 2015 |
I prefer to read books before I watch their movie counterparts. Now I am no so sure if I want to purchase the movie. To begin with, I'm not a big fan of reading novels revolving around dystopian futures. Such stories have never interested me. The Giver seemed like it would be another random but predictable story revolving around how a perfect society would fall short. Honestly I don't know why I bought this book when I did.

This novel impacted me greatly. While reading, I found that I couldn't put the book down. There were so many questions that I had formed about how such a society could succeed. Terms were introduced such as Stirrings and Release; I had to know what they meant. The answers were given soon afterwords and I found myself confronted with so many emotions. Truly, the community had become a perfect society, as I'm sure the other surrounding areas had as well, but at a cost so great. With everyone striving to become the same, they lost what it meant to be individuals. Yes, as adults they each had their own jobs and families, but they did not have the emotional depth to feel what being a part of a family meant. They could not really know what it feels like to love their husbands, wives, and children they were given. Emotions had become incomprehensible and burdening. So a person was selected to bare them for everyone else.

I have never valued emotions to such a high degree until finishing this story. As I write this, I feel so much anguish and regret for the fictitious characters featured in The Giver. It's painful to know that those humans will never experience what it means to actually live. They don't experience pain, love is obsolete, death isn't truly mourned. I saw the characters more as unsuspecting test subjects than human beings. Being human is about having the right to experience life and make your own choices, not having all your decisions made for you and your life set on a predetermined path by others. This novel showed me how striving for perfection could produce a life so bland and emotionally despondent. It was a powerful story, and I hope to someday own the complete quartet. I would be happy to know how the quartet concludes. ( )
  AlphaHikar | Jan 7, 2015 |
The experience of Finisheding about this dystopian future of a society which has embraced Sameness and assigned spouses, children and jobs and a very strictly regulated, safe life devoid of choices ages well.
I think it makes sense that I loved it when I was eleven, but I am not sure that my students would still enjoy it as much as I did. I'm also very apprehensive about the movie adaptation, because Jonas looks quite a bit older in that one, so I am rather sure that Gabe did not make the cut and they'll focus more on Jonas and his budding lust for Fiona. ( )
  Mothwing | Jan 4, 2015 |
Very predictable story of dystopia gone wrong. The few and the brave: the old and the young. This book was very much hyped and I was very much disappointed. ( )
  tess_schoolmarm | Dec 26, 2014 |
“The Giver”, by Lois Lowry, is one of the first dystopian books to have wide spread appeal for younger readers. In this thought provoking novel, Lowry creates a world in which everything is perfect - there is no disease, no divorce, no unemployment and each family has two children. Everyone in the community accepts things as they are, obeys the rules and doesn’t question anything, until 12 year old Jonas does… ( )
  knitwit2 | Dec 20, 2014 |
Thought provoking ( )
  nancymyers | Dec 18, 2014 |
I understand now why this is considered the forefather of the modern YA dystopia genre. It had some parts that really made me cringe, not because of their violence but because of their cold and calm apathy. A truly horrifying yet somewhat believable alternate future. I would recommend this to readers of all ages as it doesn't deal with flashy fight scenes and teen angst like many of its newer alternatives. ( )
  plaeski | Dec 16, 2014 |
This book is fantastic even as a re-read. Usually the effect dims the second time around, but I feel I like it even more now. ( )
  plaeski | Dec 16, 2014 |
Read for Fantasy/Science Fiction Novel Assignment.
  gmustain | Dec 7, 2014 |
The Giver is a book similar in ideas to 1984 and The Hunger Games trilogy in it's dystopian style. I remember reading this book when I was in grade school and thinking what an awful place it would have been to live in, where all your decisions are made for you, even if they are based on your best ability. This reminds me of the climate in N. Korea, with their Dear Leader. They even have a prescribed list of haircuts they are allowed to choose from. I like the idea that this book would ask children to challenge their society if they don't agree with it. Jonas wasn't happy with the fact that only one person would house all the memories, that they needed to be shared. In order to have their perfect society, they had to give up so much, including passion. There is a lack of it in The Community and Jonas craves it and when Jonas leaves, you can't help but cheer him on!
  InstantLaila | Dec 6, 2014 |
Lois Lowry is just such a talented writer. Everything she write seems to turn to literary gold. There is no one better than her in terms of children's novels and The Giver proves that. She takes this dystopian society and totally brings it to life. An absolute joy of a book for any and all ages. ( )
  Andymcclellan_93 | Dec 3, 2014 |
Read this book for the first time in elementary school. A younger version of 1984. Distopia society. I think this is great book for students to be exposed to in the classroom.
  kzilinskas | Dec 3, 2014 |
The Giver will always be one of my favorite books and memories of reading as a child and as an adult. If any one ever thinks a Utopia will work and keep everyone happy, read this book and your mind will change. Although I do not agree that everyone should be assigned jobs, that is what makes this story so good and memorable. This story illustrates beautifully why we have the freedom to choose our lives. However, there are some disturbing scenes that some parents may not want their child to view, so I suggest as a parent that you read The Giver before allowing your child to read it. This book is appropriate for age 10 and up. I would definitely recommend this book as a mandatory school book that students in 8th grade read and discuss. Overall I would rate this book between a 9 and 10.
  lfasce1 | Dec 2, 2014 |
I liked this book but I wish the ending was a little clearer. Spoiler- Did Jonas and Gabe die or did they escape? ( )
  DaphneH | Dec 1, 2014 |
Upon studying Lois Lowry this semester in Dr. Austin's class and The Giver movie that just came out in theaters, I felt that it was a must to re read The Giver. I read The Giver originally in lower school for summer reading one year and I barely remembered it. This time when I read it, I was a little older and it was not only an easier read, but I was able to look at it from an adult point of view.
Jonas is an eleven year old boy who lives in a very futuristic society, unlike the world we know today. In this world, every person is assigned a job that they are given based on their abilities. There is also no passion or color at all, everything is literally black and white. Each person is set up with a spouse and given two children. Basically, in this universe, everything is planned out and kept a certain way. Jonas is not like the other people though, he can partly see color and sometimes he can change objects he is looking at. When it comes time for Jonas to be an official member of the society through a ceremony which he is assigned his job, the receiver of memories. He is then mentored by a man named the Giver. Jonas soon learns that there is more to the mundane life that he is presented with, it is not all just about being the same as everyone around him.
Re reading this book was a great decision, it had a lot more value this time. As a 20 year old I almost know how Jonas feels. At 20 years old, I am trying to find my way in the world. I am focusing on a career and fitting in with society, but also battling to find my individuality. I hope to one day read The Giver with my future students. ( )
  SMLawrence | Nov 25, 2014 |
I still consider this book to be the only good book I've ever had to read for school. If I'm being truthful, I haven't read this book since I was young, but I still consider it to be one of my favorite books. So, in honor of the movie (which I am very excited to see!) I decided to write up a review for this excellent book.
I think the thing that I liked most about this book is the imagery. I think that Lois Lowry really paints a picture. Many of the scenes are chock-full of vivid imagery that really comes to life in your head. Jonah lives in a world that's flat and black, so Mrs. Lowry puts extra effort into painting a picture with her words. The action scenes are full of description, and typically fast paced.
This was my first introduction to dystopian societies, and it still remains one of the best in my mind. There aren't very many holes, and the world-building was excellent. This book was far ahead of it's time, and many books nowadays seem to be modeled after this one. I consider it one of the grandfathers of modern dystopian novels.
My major complaint about this book is the ending. If you can even call it that. I've read one of the later books, so I know what happens, but at the time, I thought this book was a standalone, and the "ending" enraged me. Simply put, it's not the ending. Jonah goes over the hill and...the books over. You decide what happens next. Sure, some people might be into that kind of thing, but I think it's the author's responsibility to actually write an ending for her book.
Other than the ending though, I adored this book. I couldn't put it down, and even though it's a short book, it didn't take me very long to finish it. I will always consider it to be one of my favorite books, and even though it may not be one of those books that I come back to over and over again, it will always have a special place in my heart.
Four out of Five Stars
Like what you read? Read even more here! http://themessengerreviews.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-giver-giver-1.html ( )
  TheMessengerReviews | Nov 23, 2014 |
I liked this book a lot. This book really shows the reader how life would be without “feelings” (It doesn’t look fun). The plot is well played out and really brought me in as a reader. Society was tired of war and fighting, so they made everyone the same. No one was to have feelings like love and pain. They also would see in black and white with no vibrant colors. Quotes like “We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others”. The book does a great job revealing that this may not be the best way to live. The writing flows very well and I was never bored while reading, (sometimes that happens). The language was pretty much the same throughout until “the receiver” started receiving memories. That’s when the book took a turn. Even in the book they talk about how there really wasn’t any language between the people of this place. “Even trained for years as they all had been in precision of language, what words could you use which would give another the experience of sunshine”. They wouldn’t even have been able to describe sunshine! The characters are awesome especially the main one, Jonas. AS a reader you get to see him grow and learn that there is more to life than what society is allowing him. You get to see this through his out rage of what happens when people leave and what he has been missing out on his whole life, “sled riding, fun, color”. The big idea of this book to me was that even though society wants us to all be the same, its not our only choice. BE YOURSELF!
  JordanMyers | Nov 19, 2014 |
This is one of my favorite books so, of course, I love it! I love the imagery and concept of the story. The imagery adds to the overall understanding of the story because some parts may seem dull without the imagery. For example, when Jonas begins to receive the memories, if there was no imagery it would be boring to read because how could we visualize what he is seeing. Another thing I enjoy about the book is how it describes a world where emotions basically do not exist which people cannot imagine because our world is full of emotions. It keeps me wanting to know more because how can someone live their life without emotion and having their life in place by the time their born. The overall meaning of the book is to be true to one’s self. Do not be afraid to go out of your comfort zone or go against the grain because you may get in trouble but it will end up better in the end. ( )
  Madison94 | Nov 18, 2014 |
In my opinion, I think that this was a fantastic book for a few reasons. First, I loved the plot of the book. It was unique and engaging, and I believe that Lowry did a magnificent job! It was so interesting to read about this Community that was so strict and controlling of its people. People lived a life without color, emotions, or differences. Everything was the same in this world. Second, I thought that the use of imagery was very helpful in parts of the book. For example, it was interesting to see how Lowry described this Community and how people that live there were so similar to one another. The theme of ‘sameness’ was reiterated throughout the book, and it was interesting to see how Jonas was able to break the barrier between what he knew and what the Community was keeping from its people. After reading this story, I believe that the big idea is to highlight the importance of following your own path rather than conforming to what society expects you to be. ( )
  GaiaGonzales | Nov 18, 2014 |
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