Rodney Wilder, September 22, 2014 (view all comments by Rodney Wilder)
With a scalpel-sharp economy of words, Lois Lowry fleshes The Giver's increasingly unsettling utopia hauntingly. The reader grows along with Jonas, seeing more and more of the reality and experience, both beautiful and ugly, that hides behind Sameness' grayscale veil. Beautifully rendered, in a way that is engaging but doesn't compromise an affecting narrative for superfluous delivery. A must-read exploration on the place of experience and individuality in community.
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DogFish, January 5, 2013 (view all comments by DogFish)
The heartrending story of a boy's journey from complete innocence to a slow assimilation of the truth--with horrors, tragedies, and pain of a past and present he never imagined--is told by Lowry in a pitch-perfect style as smooth and delicate as a spider's web. Vivid and disturbing, The Giver is one of the most memorable and compelling middle grade novels out there.
by The New York Times,
"A powerful and provocative novel."
by Publisher's Weekly,
"Lowry is once again in top form... unwinding a tale fit for the most adventurous readers."
by Children's Literature,
"This is a stunning, provocative science fiction story that will inspire discussion."
by The ALAN Review,
"Winner of the 1994 Newbery Medal, Lowry's thought-provoking fantasy challenges adolescents to explore important social and political issues. The Giver trains twelve-year-old Jonas as the next Receiver of Memory, the community's receptacle of past memories. This seemingly utopian society (without pain, poverty, unemployment, or disorder) is actually a body- and mind-controlling dystopia (without love, colors, sexual feelings, or memories of the past). In an exciting plot twist, Jonas courageously resolves his moral dilemma and affirms the human spirit's power to prevail, to celebrate love, and to transmit memories. From the book jacket's evocative photographic images — The Giver in black and white; trees in blazing color — to the suspenseful conclusion, this book is first-rate. Just as Lowry's Number the Stars (which received the 1990 Newbery Medal) portrays the Danish people's triumph over Nazi persecution, The Giver engages the reader in an equally inspiring victory over totalitarian inhumanity."
by School Library Journal,
"In a complete departure from her other novels, Lowry has written an intriguing story set in a society that is uniformly run by a Committee of Elders. Twelve-year-old Jonas's confidence in his comfortable 'normal' existence as a member of this well-ordered community is shaken when he is assigned his life's work as the Receiver. The Giver, who passes on to Jonas the burden of being the holder for the community of all memory 'back and back and back,' teaches him the cost of living in an environment that is 'without color, pain, or past.' The tension leading up to the Ceremony, in which children are promoted not to another grade but to another stage in their life, and the drama and responsibility of the sessions with The Giver are gripping. The final flight for survival is as riveting as it is inevitable. The author makes real abstract concepts, such as the meaning of a life in which there are virtually no choices to be made and no experiences with deep feelings. This tightly plotted story and its believable characters will stay with readers for a long time."
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