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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.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 23, 2015
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!
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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.
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on May 25, 2002
The Giver by Lois Lowry is a very opinionated book. Different people will think different things about the book and I think there are too many choices to make at the end of the story. In The Giver, a child named Jonas is getting his new 'assignment' for his life and he just happens to get the 'Receiver of Memory'. He then must receive memories of things that other people in the community do not know.
In the Giver, Lowry tried to make some sort of Utopia (Perfect World) and wanted to show that this would probably never happen and that this world might be perfect but there are still some flaws in it. The author also tries to show that our world also has flaws. I think the author tried to go too far into the future because it might be a long time until we invent or do things [are bad] as: people come and take your dishes at night, when you get hurt or have pain, they bring a pill to you and the pain just goes away.
I believe this book should not be intended for children or young adults, I think it should be for people 14 years and up. This book should not have been made for everyone because it shows a kid that committing suicide will get you out of a problem or a bad situation. This book haunts me in my sleep and I am 12, I'm not scared of hardly anything but this book scared me. Just think about it, would you want your child to be reading a book where a 12 year old washes and cleans and elderly person? Would you want your child to be reading a book where somebody injects a baby in the head with some sort of liquid? Would you want your child to be reading a book where a boy dreams of bathing a girl in his sleep? If I could, I would ban this book in any library or store. Because of these reasons, I give The Giver one out of five stars.
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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.
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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.
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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...
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on July 8, 2004
Kiddoes, I just finished rereading this book for about the eighth time, but I'll try to transport my mind back in time to when I first read it. I think you'll get a better perspective that way.
It's about a society that wants to be 'perfect'. Well, actually, 'perfect' wouldn't be the best word. I suppose that they want everything to be structured and uniform. They call it in the book 'Sameness'.
There are books and movies about futures that stink, but, let me tell you, this is an especially insane one.
The land is climate-controlled, and completely the same. Flat; no hills, no valleys. No colors, even. And it isn't just the outside that's controlled... The people don't love, aren't sad or guilty... basically, they don't feel human emotions. Only the Receiver is allowed to experience those things, and he is the keeper for the entire community... without him, the memories would be unleashed and the community would revert to chaos.
People have their jobs chosen for them, their mates chosen, even their children. You get to old? You're 'released'. (Releasing is killing, if you haven't figured that out.) A twin, and smaller than your brother or sister? You're released. Make a mistake, like flying in the wrong direction? Released. It's scary about what you can't do...
Jonas is chosen as the new Receiver, and (surprise) he's the character that the book centers around. We read about his life before he is selected, during, and afterwards, and I don't know about you, but it was a major shock to me that there wasn't color.
I'm not sure if I can say that I LOVED this book. Loving would imply that I loved the concepts, and also would imply that I wasn't horrified while I was reading it. Happy little kiddoes in America aren't really exposed to this kind of stuff... not even CLOSE to it.
But I really respect it, and totally understand why it's a classic. Lois Lowry got a fan with this book; Number the Stars didn't quite do it for me.
And another thing I think people need to understand about this book is that even though the text is simple and that youngsters can READ it, the concepts are meant for older kids.
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on June 20, 2004
This book was so good! i loved it and couldn't put it down. It is different from other books. I am so glad that everyone is differnt(youl get me when you have read the book)
Set in a future in which communities are entirely regulated, all life patterns ordered for maximum security, uniformity, painless existence, and pleasant, if uneventful family life, this novel unfolds the story of Jonas, a promising boy who, with all his age peers, will receive his adult assignment from the elders on the yearly day of advancement celebrated for all children going through carefully calibrated developmental stages. Jonas's assignment, however, sets him apart from his peers, and ultimately from the whole community.
He is selected as the next Receiver of Memories, a post that allows him access to knowledge of the past carefully guarded from all but one Receiver in each generation. His lot will be to bear the pain of bearing, not only in his mind and imagination, but in his body, feelings and sensations suppressed in others by lifelong administration of biochemical regulators.
Besides the old Receiver of Memories, whom Jonas calls The Giver, he becomes the only one able to see colors, feel pain, desire, loss, hunger, and to remember a world in which people felt something deeper than superficial stirrings. Among other things, he discovers what it is to feel love. Horrified at the blankness in which his people live, he chooses, with the Giver's blessing, and at great risk, to escape the community, and thus to release into it the memories he will not keep to himself.
Rescuing a child destined for "release" for nonstandard development, Jonas embarks on a journey that leads him to a faraway place where the old life survives, leaving behind him a community that will emerge from their anaesthetized condition into the costly terms on which the gifts of ecstasy, joy, awareness, grief, and pain give life its value.
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on June 20, 2004
Jonas lives in a totally safe and predictable world. The Elders make all the community's decisions, and every aspect of life is governed by detailed rules. One of those rules says that when an Eleven becomes a Twelve, childhood ends. That's about to happen to Jonas. He is nervous, even apprehensive, but he is also eager because at the transition ceremony he will receive his lifetime assignment. More years of schooling lie ahead, and for now he'll continue to live with his family; but the day after the ceremony he will also begin training for his new role as a contributing adult member of the community. Will he become a Nurturer like his father? Will he be an attendant at the House of the Old? An instructor for Threes, who need to learn the precise use of language? He can't guess. But no one could have guessed the assignment that he actually gets.
Jonas will become the community's Receiver of Memories. He will carry what everyone else has forgotten long ago - the knowledge of what life was like before climate control, medicine to repress desire, and all the rest of the present world's safeguards were introduced. He alone will know what it's like to feel unrestrained emotions, and he alone will be capable of making genuine choices. He will have great honor, but he will bear a burden the rest of the community can't even imagine.
What is safety, and what does it really cost? This is a surprisingly original take on a familiar speculative fiction device, that of the future community in which every aspect of an individual's life is rigidly controlled. Lowry's young hero discovers his world's secrets gradually and believably, taking the reader with him on a journey that forces the boy raised without choices to make decisions almost beyond imagining.
--(...)
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