on July 7, 2015
I remembered having this book read to us in 6th grade (would have happily read it myself, lol) and how much I'd loved the story, so I decided to buy it and read it again.
SO HAPPY that I did. Having only been 12 at the time, there was so much, "politically" that I just wasn't mature or learned enough to understand. So the 2nd (and 3rd!) time through I enjoyed it even more and I was better able to think critically about the content.
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!
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.
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.
on August 9, 2014
What you're in for: Order. A very controlled society. Ceremony of Ages. Stirrings. Sameness. Quick and easy read. Unanswered questions.
Am I glad I read it? I am glad I read it. I mean, come on, it's just one of those books you have to read. But I wasn't all that impressed by it, to be honest.
I did like some of the surprises it threw my way, such as the colour thing. But, there were things that bugged me.
Too many unanswered questions. I thought the Giver was going to answer all these questions, but he didn't even know much. There was just so much left up in the air, so many aspects not explained. That bugs me.
It was fairly enjoyable and it was interesting, but something was just off.
I'm not really sure why this book is sooo popular and well-received. I mean, I get that it was, like, the first of its kind or whatever, and it was decent, but it just wasn't that great in my opinion. Only okay.
Not sure if I will read the second book.
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.
on August 14, 2014
i was very excited to read this book since the movie is coming out really soon. so i got it and read it withing 5 hours! my brother LOVED this book, but for a few days after finishing this book i literally feel physically ill just thinking about it. this might sound weird, but if you have a strong motherly instinct DONT READ THIS BOOK! it left me crying hysterically after reading about how they treat the kids in the community . (SPOILERS) they even go as far as killing a new born baby.... happily.. and throwing it in the trash.
i could barely eat the day after reading this book... im afraid to see the movie now.
though i do say the book was OK because it was a well written story (i wouldnt have read it so fast if it was terrible) and my brother loved it so much.