Jaybiz8, December 2, 2012 (view all comments by Jaybiz8)
Yes this book is an easy read, but the themes are provocative and make you think. I remember reading this book many years ago in elementary school and it made an incredible impression on me. I would recommend this title and look forward to the time when my own child is old enough to read it.
Home School Book Review, November 26, 2012 (view all comments by Home School Book Review)
Jonas, an eleven-almost-twelve-year-old boy lives in the Community with his father, mother, and younger sister Lily. It is a planned utopian society governed by Sameness, with no war, fear, or pain, but also no choices. The weather is perfectly controlled, no hills exist, no live animals are seen, and there is even no color or music. At age twelve, all people are assigned their roles in the community. The old, young children who do not thrive, and even those who rebel are “released.” Jonas is singled out to receive special training from the Receiver, who alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life and now becomes “the Giver,” so that Jonas can be trained as the new Receiver. Jonas’s father is a nurturer and the family has been caring for a newborn named Gabriel who is not thriving, so the decision is eventually made that the infant will be released. Now that he has received the truth, how will Jonas react when he learns what it really means to be released? And what will he do?
The Giver is well-written and quite interesting to read. However, to be truthful, I really did not care for it. And I think that my reaction basically involves the issue of age-appropriateness. The book is said to be written on an age nine to eleven reading level and is usually listed as being for age twelve and above, so it was apparently aimed at middle-grade students. However, I noticed that the Random House edition which I read is found in their “Teens” section, and others have recommended it basically for upper grades. There may be some value in the book for high school students to consider the consequences of a controlled society where people give up freedom for safety. However, there are certain aspects of the story��"the infanticide, the euthanasia, and some rather oblique sexual references��"which I think are just too heavy and thus are not appropriate for younger readers.
Also, the ending is rather odd. Whether it is happy or not I guess all depends on the eye of the beholder. Is The Giver a horrific book? Not necessarily, although it has some things horrible to contemplate in it. Is it a useful book? Perhaps, under certain circumstances. Is it a good book? Each person will have to make up his or her own mind on that question. I do agree with the assessment that it is “For mature audiences, as there is an episode of euthanasia. The story questions values we take for granted. Caution, and probably pre-reading recommended.” There are three “companion” novels--Gathering Blue, Messenger, and now Son.
tlc503, June 7, 2009 (view all comments by tlc503)
Jonas’ world is perfect. There is no pain, no wars and there’s no fighting. Jonas’ life is as usual, as everyone else’s. That is until he becomes the new Receiver of Memories. He goes through Pain and War and Fighting in his mind, but he also has happy memories. He wants his community to change but how? Will Jonas’ community ever change? Will Jonas use his memories to help him? Read it and you’ll find out.
I enjoyed The Giver because it makes you think. It’s an easy read, but the ideas are complex. When you’re reading The Giver you’ll think about your life and how lucky you are. The Giver has spots that you have to decide, spots that the author thought you could decide. Even at the end it leaves you on a cliffhanger. That’s why I enjoyed The Giver.
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Ally222, June 7, 2009 (view all comments by Ally222)
Jonas lives in a world with no pain, no fear, no love, no happiness, a world without feelings. When a child turns 12 he/she is assigned a job. When you grow too old to be in the community you are released. Everything is controlled, all choices are made for you. At Jonas's year 12 ceremony he is signaled out to receive special training from the Giver, therefor becoming the new Receiver, keeper of all memories. Jonas is given many memories some of which are: the memory of pain, of fear, of weather, of love, of happiness. Jonas slowly begins to realize that the community he lives in is unfair. No one has actual feelings. Compared to Jonas and his newly acquired feelings, everyone seems like robots. Jonas wants the rest of the community to have feelings too, to have freedom, to truly experience life as Jonas knows it is supposed to be lived. Jonas knows the world he lives in is wrong, but can he change it? Very unlikely.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves science fiction or books about the future. The Giver isn't a difficult read, you just have to read between the lines, and the whole concept can be hard to grasp. This is a truly amazing book, lots of action, detail, and suspense. The 4/5 grade class that I'm in read this book as a book club book, so it's appropriate for 4th graders. The only less "age appropriate" parts are when Jonas is bathing a elderly woman and when he has a dream caused by the stirrings (puberty), but even those parts really aren't bad. The Giver really makes you think about the world we live in today, how fortunate, and unfortunate we really are. How our world is controlled. Even if you do not like the plot outline, I would still recommend this book, it is a very short read, why not give it a shot?
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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."
Winner of the Newbery Medal and named as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Lowry's unforgettable tale introduces 12-year-old Jonas, who is singled out by his community to be trained by The Giver.
Lois Lowry is an award-winning author who has written many popular books for young adults. She was twice the recipient of the Newbery Medal, for Number the Stars and for The Giver. The author lives in Cambridge, MA.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and eBooks — here at Powells.com.