4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2007
My class, Scott Bateman Middle School in The Pas, read this book and we thought it was great! It's very different compared to some of the books I have read. I recommend it if you want a book that is kinda like a fantasy book. However, I thought that it should of continued because it seemed like the book didn't end.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Your world is perfect and it is all you know. Disruptions are minimal and dealt with swiftly. All is as it was.
And for eleven year old, about to turn twelve Jonas, you will find out all life is wrong.
That is the best, non-spoilery, way I could think of to very swiftly describe The Giver. This award winning YA novel by Lois Lowry is considered a modern classic, having come out in 1993, and is frequently challenged by small minded censors.
They probably recognize themselves in The Giver. And not in a good way.
“Fun doesn’t end when you become Twelve.”
But back to Jonas and his all.
When we start out, Jonas is telling us of some disquiet that happened one day and how his society remedies it.
This opens the window for us to see how this society works, his family functions, and the happiness all enjoy. All the structures and rules and firm politeness is part of the glue which makes everything feel oh so perfect. Inside the home, society gently makes the family all get along and be loving and supportive and kind. Any and all bad things that could possibly happen, or have happened, are sanitized with words and actions no one really truly understands.
“Thank you for your childhood.”
As Jonas approaches his Twelfth birthday, we see he has come of age for his career to be chosen for him. And this is where we, and Jonas, begin the unraveling of all that is.
For Jonas becomes the Receiver of Memory. Learning about the world from The Giver. Cue chaos.
It is obvious for any reader that the utopia presented in the first third of The Giver is not quite right. Hints and dangly loose threads of life show us that many many things are wrong here. By the halfway point, the clear picture of how truly horrible this dystopia is becomes clear, even to Jonas who is only now waking up.
“I accept your apology.”
With all the revelations, breakthroughs, plans, and deep thoughts that rolls on as The Giver progresses, the concepts of what is a good society is debated. The Giver and The Receiver will make you question the roles of emotions in who and what we are, plus how our actions because of feelings can affect the greater society around us.
As these issues are fleshed out, we also see Jonas learning of how the efficiencies that have always been part of the fabric of all he knows make everything fun so very very very smoothly, but at the cost of imagination, fun, and a sense of history.
So much of this culminates towards the conclusion with a subplot exploding that I never expected to explode. And crystalizes the massive differences of Jonas from the start to the Jonas at the end. Which also illustrates how the wrongness of this society can be fixed by a simple kindness by a child.
“Call me The Giver.”
The Giver is rich in thought and textures of emotions. Lois Lowry also provides dialogue and sentences that perfectly sum up so much in so little. Her accomplishment in making Jonas and this world ring true will cause an immediate urge to seek out the loose sequels Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.
One of these deals with the ambiguous final pages of The Giver. My optimism leads me to think happy thoughts. Ones I know The Giver and Receiver would be find pleasing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2006
The giver is an exciting, unpredictable, can't seem to put down novel. Jonas lives in a world much unlike our own. As December, Jonas becomes more anxious, and nervous, because this could well be the most important year of his life. Every year, children the age of 12 are assigned their role in the community, which they will fufill until the day they are released. This is Jonas' year. When Jonas is assigned the honorable, and respectable role of The Reciever, his life is turned around. He will recieve training from the previous reciever, now the Giver, and willrecieve more than he could ever imagine. Jonas no longer socializes with his friends, or finds interest in his surroundings. Although after Jonas finishes his training he will hold the many secrets World, and the many memories of the past, but from what he knows now, he knows there is more to life than just a world of sameness.
Lois Lowry, the extaordinary author of The Giver,has written many other books, that have also recieved awards.In total she has written 30 novels, which include 4 series'. Lois is the only author to have achieved 2 Newbery Medal Awards, one being for her most popular book The Giver.
In my opinion, this is a remarkable book. I love the fact that the book uses words and terms that you don't understand untill the end. For example ,the words unit and dwelling both describe a place where a family lives. Considering the book takes place in the future, I think there should be new terminology. The book is not so straight foward, like some novels are, as an example I need to paint a picture in my head of what the world would look like in order to understand the story.
I recommend this book to sci-fi, and mystery novel fans, because this novel keeps you thinking, and therefore it is put into theids genre.
"Usually at the morning ritual when the family members told their dreams, Jonas didn't contribute much. He rarely dreamed. Sometimes he awoke with a feeling of fragments afloat in sleep, but he couldn't seem to grasp them and put the togeather into something worthy of telling at the ritual"
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2014
I first read this book as a kid and it changed my life, and now reading it 13 years since, I understand why this book was so important. It's light preparation for reality, a commentary on values, and a questioning of the concept of uniformity and sameness. It was through this book that I understood the value of words and stories and shared experience. I hope to read this one day again to my future children.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2014
I think that The Giver was worth reading at some parts, however it was very predictable. First, in my opinion, The Giver is a great book because it teaches you a lesson. The book shows us how grateful we should be for what we have. Second, it was a very interesting book because of the descriptions of the community. I like how it illustrated their daily lives. Finally, the length of the chapters are very appropriate for the level of the book. They were not too short and not too long. All in all, even though I expected what was going to happen in The Giver it was definitely a beneficial read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I never got to read this book in grade eight like some of my school mates. We were all divided into small groups and each group got their own book to read together. The Giver by Lois Lowry was one of those books, but unfortunately it was not mine. I've wanted to read it ever since, and seeing the trailer for the soon-to-be movie prompted me to finally read it.
I finished it this morning, and I can honestly say I loved and wish that I could have read it when I was younger. Would I have understood the deeper meaning? Probably not at first, but I would have loved to have been a part of that classroom discussion. As much as I wish I had read it when I was younger, I am also glad I read for the first time as a 22 year old adult. I think I have a better understanding of some of the themes and I am definitely mature enough for some of the more "disturbing" themes. Had I read it as a 12 year old, I'm not sure if it would have turned me off or not.
All in all, this book is definitely worth a read. It's a quick read that won't take long at all, but does require you to think. I am looking forward to the movie!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Dystopian teen fiction is pretty hot right now, with blockbusters like "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent." But the grandaddy of them all was "The Giver."
And long before it became chic, Lois Lowry produced a hauntingly memorable story set in a world where emotions are suppressed, and only "The Giver" has the power to change it. It's a powerful little story -- whether read alone or with the three loose sequels -- with haunting prose and some very strong characters, as well as a message of compassion and acceptance.
A young boy named Jonas lives in a rigid, joyless community where people use emotion-deprivation pills and adhere to insanely strict rules -- they have no conflict, poverty or discrimination... but they also have no love, no fun, and no creativity. When Jonas is selected as the Receiver of Memories, he is suddenly flooded with feelings and memories of both the good and the bad from humanity's distant past.
And as he comes to realize what his people have lost in their quest to be the same, Jonas begins yearning for the world he knows must exist outside the Community. But his quest becomes a more personal one when he discovers another price for the Community's existence: the "release" of babies that they don't deem good enough. The only one who can change the Community is Jonas.
Pretty much all young-adult dystopian fiction owes a debt to the Giver Quartet -- it has young people discovering the cruelty and callousness of their societies, and finding different ways to rebel. But Lowry doesn't shy away from asking the serious questions in her story, such as lack of respect for life (if it's inconvenient or doesn't fit in), kindness, compassion, and the good AND bad roots of what it means to truly live.
Lowry's writing is simple but poetic, winding through with some quietly eloquent language ("Behind him, across vast distances of space and time, from the place he had left, he thought he heard music too"). And she fills the story not with bombast and battle, but with tragedy and quiet triumph -- and while we can see that Jonas' actions will have shattering effects, his rebellion against his cold, sterile society is an oddly quiet one.
And as this book is the quiet grandfather of current dystopian fiction, Jonas is the quiet ancestor of the Katniss Everdeens of today -- he's an innocent young boy who discovers what being really alive is about, and the joys and horrors that come with it. He's not an action hero, but an everyman... well, everyBOY hero, struggling with the complex questions of what he should do to make his world "right" again.
It's also worth noting that while "The Giver" is part of a loose-knit series, it can be appreciated as a standalone novel. However, the ambiguous ending is less ambiguous with the sequels that came some years later, which explain what happened to Jonas and Gabe -- which was rather controversial, since it "ruined" the ending that fans had decided was the real one.
"The Giver" is a powerful, haunting little novel, like a quiet song that resonates powerfully in your memory -- and conveys some powerful lessons about human nature and compassion. A true and deserving classic.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2005
Try to imagine a huge idea of a team of twisted scientists come to life: solitary, colourless, perfect communities. No one is stressed, no one is hateful, and everyone ACTUALLY uses precise language ( Eh-hem, unlike some places now... ). However, all this changes when one Utopian citizen, Jonas, is selected to "recieve" memories of the past, when pain was inevitable, and love was treasured, not called "obsolete and general."
I am 12-going-on-13, and have read The Giver for 7th Grade. But, oh, how it has touched me. There is something about Lowry's admirable writing that is slightly sci-fi and simple, but extremely beautiful. I've probably read this book 6 times over already, and my teacher has indicated my potential as being a Receiver of Memory, like Jonas ( don't ask ).
This book is UNDENIABLY thought-provoking and an amazing treasure. It will keep you thinking about our world again and again, how such SIMPLE things like hugs and music and COLOUR should be treasured. The Giver definetely deserves 5 stars of 5!
P.S: Read "The Face of Love" by Apple Pie on Fanfiction.net. I SWEAR, you are NOT a Giver fan until you've read it.
on April 8, 2005
This Tale of a fantasy village is a distortion on everything we have learned and practiced throughout our lives; (I admit I typically dislike fantasy anyways) but I have to say I didn't enjoy this book at all. When my grade 8 class was assigned this book there was a lot of controversy between us on the topics discussed. A number of students did not what to think of it; we were unable to classifying it, which led to a negative outlook on it. For some, this book might be a great read as they learn about "sameness" and the abstract ways in which this culture functions. This book is very hard to judge, you ether are able to accept it as different and love it or you are so put off by the intangible theme(s) discussed that you are unable to enjoy the novel. Although I think Lowis Lowery (the author) has proven her amazing creativity and originality I do not think this book is worth your time, but who knows... you ether love it or hate it.
Ps Word is that there creating a movie based on this novel they our now in the first stages of it. The same creators of "holes" a great movie based on the great book are making it. I hope the movie will be able to put the storyline/book in perspective for me and help me enjoy it.
on July 15, 2004
This is a complex, beautiful book that offers a look into a futuristic dystopia in which there is no color, no aberation, no hot or cold, and no personal choices. Drugs are taken to repress sexual urges and even out temprament, and careers are chosen for children based on their aptitude. Children are raised in prearranged family units. There is no privacy and no personal choice, but is this really a bad thing if people have no concept of those things? There is no hunger, emotional pain, violence, crime, war, or sadness.
Growing up in this world is Jonas, a bright 12 year old who is about to receive his career assignment. He is given the important but extremely rare job of "Reciever": the keeper of "memories" of what life was like before the creation of his utopian world. Slowly, he begins to see color, to learn what love, hate, death, and heartbreak are like. He begins to understand that some of the "happy" things around him maybe aren't so happy.
The brilliance of this book is that the world unfolds gradually. Lowry does not hit us over the head with an up-front description: in fact, the place starts out sounding fairly normal if a bit Montesori. Slowly, though, the reader realizes quite how foreign this world is. Lowry is a deft writer with an excellent sense of subtlety.
Ultimately, this book is about the importance of cultural memory. The idea of cultural memory is probably a new one for kids, and some of the concepts of death and destruction might be a little disturbing, so I recomend that parents read this book too so that they can discuss it with their children. This in no way means that I think that it is innapropriate for kids: I just think that it is an amazing starting point for discussion about what makes us human. Please read my review of "A Wrinkle in Time" (also made today) for my thoughts on how these two books are related.
This is a moving, thought-provoking book that is a great read for adults as well as kids. Adults might find it interesting that the idea of a drugged-to-make-them-"normal" population where everyone is encouraged to analyze and discuss every aspect of their lives sounds eerily familiar...