The Giver (Giver Quartet)

by Lois Lowry

Hardcover, 1993



Local notes

Fic Low (c.1)



HMH Books for Young Readers (1993), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 180 pages. $13.95.


Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.



Original publication date


Physical description

180 p.; 5.5 inches


0395645662 / 9780395645666



User reviews

LibraryThing member Cait86
I am glad that I read Lowry's Number the Stars first, because I was very impressed with it, and I don't think I would have been if I had read The Giver first. Number the Stars is still a very good book, but The Giver is extraordinary!

Jonas is about to become a Twelve, the age when all children are given their future career Assignments. One of his friends, Fiona, is sure to become a Caregiver of the Old; talented Benjamin will probably work in the Rehabilitation Centre. For Jonas, the future is uncertain. He has no idea what his Assignment will be. As it turns out, Jonas is given an Assignment that is honoured above all others - an assignment that changes the way he views his very orderly world.

The Giver draws on all sorts of famous dystopian qualities - married couples are "matched," children are assigned to family units, and each family may only receive one boy child and one girl child. Population is controlled, climate is controlled, even colour is controlled. Sameness is the desired quality, and Rules are of the utmost importance. This is 1984, Brave New World or The Handmaid's Tale for children, and it is a book that portrays a world just as horrible. As Jonas gains knowledge about how the world used to be, the reader questions right along with him, and learns the value of love, beauty, and even of pain.

Lowry's world is disturbing on many levels, but particularly because it could be seen as logical. Her characters do not see colours, but live in a world that is only shades of grey. Every person has the same shade of flesh. In our world, where racial tensions and conflicts still exist, the idea of everyone being the same "colour" could be seen as positive. Climate control may also be beneficial - imagine if we could grow crops year-round. However, as Lowry points out, these regulations eliminate one of our defining human qualities - choice. In her created world, human choose nothing - not their spouses, not their careers, not even one colour of clothing over another. Yes, we may choose incorrectly some times, but in the end, isn't the idea of choice the most important thing?
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LibraryThing member lunacat
Jonas lives within a future community that is perfect. Each child is happy, each adult seemingly content within their vocation, each family carefully made up of a boy and a girl, and nothing is allowed to disrupt this idyllic life with everything firmly in its place. The only thing Jonas worries about is the Ceremony, when he will turn from an Eleven to a Twelve, and find out what he is going to do with his adult life.

What occurs at that Ceremony is something he never expected, that changes his life forever. He is forced to learn to see his seemingly perfect community in an entirely different light, shocking him and leading him to question his place in his world, and what that means for him and others.

This was a fantastic YA book, and one that should be put on all teenage reading lists. The details of the community are slowly revealed, and the stunning facts slipped in so you don't realise how disturbing this world really is.

The future community is wonderfully realised and completely believable, down to the smallest detail. I drank it up, not wanting to finish the journey but desperate to reach the end. When I did turn the last page, it was with a deep breath as I found myself back in the 'real' world.

Fully deserving of its accolades, I think this future dystopian novel would be enjoyed and appreciated by a wide variety of readers, both YA and adult.

From page twenty:

Father put his bike into its port. Then he picked up the basket and carried it into the house. Lily followed behind, but she glanced back over her shoulder at Jonas and teased, "Maybe he has the same Birthmother as you."

Jonas shrugged. He followed them inside. But he had been startled by the newchild's eyes. Mirrors were rare in the community; they weren't forbidden, but there was no real need of them, and Jonas had simply never bothered to look at himself very often even when he found himself in a location where a mirror existed. Now, seeing the newchild and its expression, he was reminded that the light eyes were not only a rarity but gave the one who had them a certain look - what was it? Depth, he decided; as if one were looking into the clear water of the river, down to the bottom, where things might lurk which hadn't been discovered yet. He felt self-conscious, realizing that he, too, had that look.
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LibraryThing member drachenbraut23
“The life where nothing was ever unexpected. Or inconvenient. Or unusual. The life without colour, pain or past.”

“They were satisfied with their lives which had none of the vibrance his own was taking on. And he was angry at himself, that he could not change that for them.”

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”

Imagine you live in a world without poverty, without violence, without pain, sorrow, suffering or love, without inequality, without choice, without individuality, without colours, where everything is "sameness" and planned from the time you are born until the day you die. Life is safe and predictable but without any real purpose.

This is the world where 11 year old Jonas is born into. Where a Comittee of Elders decides who your life mate will be. Children are born anonymously, by women whose job it is to produce them and then the Elders determine whether you are allowed to have any at all. They also decide who will get "released" from the community, because they are old, they don't fit or sometimes for other reasons. People have to follow strict rules in order to eliminate potential conflicts. Everyone is brainwashed, from an extremely early age, to apologize for anything which is considered offensive or could cause irritation, and in return they have to accept apologies. To ensure that everyone stays unruffled, all emotions are discussed on a daily basis. Everyone is calm and tranquil, and no one desires anything, apart from being able to serve the community.

When Jonas turns 12 years old, him and his friends are going to be assigned their future positions within the community. However, Jonas doesn't get assigned, but selected to become the new "Receiver" of memories for the community which is a position of considerable honor. The Receiver of memory is the custodian of the past, which he is not allowed to share until he can prepare a new Receiver. His task is to protect the people from all emotions that the memories bring.

Once Jonas starts his training, and he receives more and more of the past memories his view of his world starts to crumble rapidly. He discovers joy, pain, sorrow and love. He finds colours, diversity and finds out about choice. The more he learns, the more he feels horrified that the world he is living in is not what it seems to be. He starts to believe that the people of his community are deprived of emotions and that they have no idea what true feelings are. Jonas discovers what it means for a human being to be "released" and because of the memories he sees that life could be remarkably different, even if that would mean to make wrong choices.

Such a tiny little book, but so much to think about. Lois Lowry makes us think about birth control, euthanasia and issues relating to values, choices, purpose and risks in life. Truly, as others said already before me "What a little gem!"… (more)
LibraryThing member theokester
I kept hearing good things about this book so I finally picked it up and read it over Christmas break. Being a kids/young adult book, it was a fairly fast read. Still, because of the depth created in the world of the book, I tried to slow down my reading and take it all in.

The overall plot of the book felt fairly familiar after having read other 'futuristic' or 'alternate humanity' books. My most recent memory was to _City of Ember_ which I read earlier this year. In both books, there's an isolated Community with rather specific rules and regulations as well as a sort of lottery process that specifies a future career for children once they reach a certain age. Stepping beyond that plot device, the two books diverge greatly...with Ember dwelling largely on the mystery and adventure of escaping the city and Giver concentrating more on what is lost and missing in such a community (granted, Ember still contained the same theme and I thought a lot about if, but it wasn't as overt).

The writing style was easy to follow and the story line was concise and interesting. Through the first many chapters, I grew close to the main character, Jonas, and enjoyed his perspective and his thought processes.

Once he received his assignment as the next Receiver, many new revelations came to light. Up until he met the Giver I wasn't entirely sure of the direction the book would take. I still wasn't entirely sure where it would go, but the message and intent became more clear.

It was interesting to me some of the things I didn't realize were missing in the book prior to meeting the Giver. Once Jonas meets and begins his training with the Giver, he becomes more "awake" to the state of the world and more aware of his surroundings. Naturally, his descriptions become more vivid. Looking back at earlier sections of the novel, I wasn't aware of some of the simple adjectives that were missing from the descriptions. I must have just chalked it up to the simple writing of a younger book...but now that I know better, I attribute it to the artful direction of a talented author using his writing style to propel his message.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to picking up more books by Lowry. My biggest complaint is with the ending of the book. Don't get me wrong...I don't mind "sad" or even "ambiguous" endings. In fact, my wife will tell you how much I love depressing stories. What I felt was lacking from this book was more sense of closure.

I don't want to spoil the ending, but be warned that this paragraph may allude to elements, so skip it if you like. I didn't mind not knowing the exact nature of the lights Jonas saw at the end. I can be hopeful that they indicate a positive ending, but even if they are elements of a sad ending, that's alright.

What was missing for me was closure as to the results of his final actions. What happened in the community? I realize that Lowry probably didn't want to spell things out exactly because he wants to leave a sort of "call to action" for the reader. Still, I wanted a few pages about what happened in the community...whether or not Jonas' theories were valid...even if the book ended before a resolution happened. I wanted to know whether or not Jonas' actions were valid and justified or whether they were ineffective and futile. I wanted to see some hope of change for the community rather than leaving it completely nebulous.

OK, now that I've added sufficient ambiguity to all those who haven't read it, I hope you'll take my call to action and go read it yourself. It's a fairly short book with quick reading and a thoughtful message.

4 stars
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LibraryThing member RBeffa
What a terrific book for young teens. I picked this up to read because I enjoy the occasional young adult novel and also because I enjoy books that explore issues with dystopian themes, especially social dystopias. "The Giver" introduces us to a social order in the future that is very very different than our own. The world appears to be mostly at peace, but there are quickly seen hints that all may not be as perfect as it seems. Nonetheless, we are presented with a number of social elements that seem appealing on the one hand, but quite disturbing on the other when given a little thought. The ideal in "The Giver", for example, for a two child family of one boy and one girl seems environmentally sensible at first look. But we soon learn that only couples deemed fit by a
committee of elders are allowed children. And children aren't born to couples and raised. Children are born to birth mothers whose job it is to give birth to three children before they are sent off to manual labor jobs. Children are presented to a couple who have petitioned for a child and found acceptable in a ceremony each year where children up to age 1, called the "Ones", are handed out and the children at that point being named, not by the parents, but by a "Namer". Even the couples themselves don't choose their partners for marriage, but are instead carefully matched and chosen by the committee of elders. Sexual desire, called "stirrings", are supressed for all with a daily pill.

There are many more elements like this that reveal a very dispassionate, structured and ordered society with rules about all sorts of behaviours, and the severe punishment of being "released" from society for certain transgessions or "failure to thrive" issues. The laws are rarely broken, except in small ways on minor issues, where it is understood that small bends can happen, such as when one learns to ride a bike. Something horrible must have happened to the world in the past, we soon realize, when stuffed toy animals such as bears and elephants are considered mythical creatures.

The story of "The Giver" is much bigger than this. It is about a young man coming of age in this society and being assigned a very rare and important position. This is a great book for causing one to pause and examine our own social structures, strictures and mores, as well as those within the book. Very few issues are black and white, but they are made such in the world of "The Giver".

"The Giver" has a very small cast of characters. Also, it isn't a long book and some might be disappointed that some of the issues raised in this novel are not explored at length. In my mind, what the novel does do is raise a lot of questions - food for thought - for the reader, and not lecture. Instead of a big landscape, the novel instead is a small portrait of an individual within the larger framework, and I think as such it succeeds very well. In a way this is sort of a junior more accessible version of ideas explored in Huxley's "Brave New World". I wasn't crazy about the ending. A lot of threads are left unraveled, and we can only hope that life will be better.

This book clearly deserved the Newberry Medal it received. Recommended.
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LibraryThing member Zommbie1
Wow. Just wow. It has been a long time since a book stayed with me in this way. It was one of those books that you know has profoundly affected you but you are still not quite sure how. As a Teenager I loved one of Lowry's other books, Number the Stars. It really made me see courage in a different light. This book has affected me in a different way I think. The way the story is built up, the normalcy of it all, to have it changed makes you doubt and question your own perceptions. Lowry manages to make Jonas's feelings into the readers feelings. Although I am not a twelve year old boy I felt like I was feeling everything Jonas was feeling. Which for a book about feelings and memories is not only essential but also amazing. This was one of my banned books and although I can see why some would want it banned I think that it would be devastating! This book has so much to offer both purely stylistically and also as fodder for discussion. It is a book that one should not read and keep in their heart but rather one that should and must be talked about. This is truly an important book!… (more)
LibraryThing member seekingflight
I feel as if I've come late to the party on this one, a thought-provoking ‘dytopia’ novel that starts off by showing what seems like an idyllic society, and gradually reveals its dark undertones ...

Jonah lives in a tightly regulated community that seems wonderful on the surface. Parents encourage their children to share their feelings after dinner, and Elders carefully observe the children as they approach the age of 12, and assign them to a profession best suiting their interests and abilities.

Needless to say, all is not as rosy as it appears, and the book raises some interesting themes about memory, and the importance of some of the less pleasant/ more problematic aspects of our lives (pain, conflict, differences, confusion, doubt, and uncertainty).

I wanted to love this story, but found that for me, the implausibility of some aspects of the society at times took me out of the philosophical realm and back into the mundane/ practical. I'm not sure that this is necessarily a fair criticism, though, and the book certainly works very well as allegory.

I certainly did find myself thinking about the issues it raised long after I had closed the pages and put it away ...
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LibraryThing member Terpsichoreus
This book is a general failure, and I find it rather sad that we feel a need to feed such didactic and poorly-constructed work to our children (not to mention the legions of adult fans). I have always believed that work should challenge and inform children, not give them simplistic answers. When we treat children as if they are incapable of processing the complex, we fail to give them the tools they need to thrive in our own complex world.

Such is the problem with modern Disney films: they seem to think that to properly tell a story for children requires not only a simplification of language, but a simplification of idea. Films like Fantasia were made from a place of artistic, literary, and cultural complexity, but does not fail to engage children. Look at the complex questions of Dumbo, Pinocchio, and Alice in Wonderland, and compare those to what we show children today.

Of course, no era is dead, there are still good and invigorating products for children, but the more litigation and witch-hunting we do, the less that will be true.

The Giver also shows a gross misunderstanding of society, culture, and psychology that would be a sad failing in any book, let alone a didactic dystopian one. The world-building is inconsistent and flawed, and the character progression plodding.

A humorous side-note is that the author herself said that she has deliberately left the ending vague; a crime against her own didactism, but fitting with her poor structure. However, she also said that the reader should not believe that the character dies at the end. Perhaps if she did not want to foster this belief, she should not have made it the most reasonable solution.

However, I cannot expect something so simple from an author who clearly doesn't comprehend how her readers actually think (or that they think). I believe that he died at the end. Not only does it make sense, but it also almost makes the book enjoyable. Even if the reader cannot escape the poorly-thought, oversimplified world, at least the protagonist can.

The book has won awards, but as we educated adults know, award committees are mainly motivated by political, economic, and bureaucratic concerns. This does not make this a worthwhile book any more than Titanic's Oscars make it a better movie than Citizen Kane.

Likewise, the fact that kids have responded well to this book does not make it educational or character-building, any more than their love of Hannah Montana makes her a good role model.
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LibraryThing member denisecase
This was a strange book. It6 was a bout a community that lived in a state of sameness. There was no color and noe emotions. Everything was dictated as to what to say and how to respond, to what job you held and who would raise you to adulthood. It was a life with out decisions, emotion, color, adventure, and free will. But the people had no idea what they were missing because they knew no better. Until one boy is chosen to be the reciever of memories. He receives the knowledge of these things. His eyes are open to things like snow, war, love, pain, and death. The knowledge of such things makes him leave this way of life in the end.

I have never read a book like this before. The thoughts of such a place are so strange to me. It was almost as if the people were robots. They didn't have free will. They had to apply for marrage, their spouse was chosen for them. What a sad existance that would be.

I would read this story with older children. I would have them develope their own land. What would it be like to live there? What would their rules be? What would they want to not have there? Then I would have them draw this place and present it before the class. It would be interesting to find out what they think.
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LibraryThing member JQuist
This is one of my favorite books. Lowry's style of writing is appropriate for both children and adults. It talks about a world very different from our own. called the "Community", it is a world in black and white. The main character is Jonas, and the story really is about him finding himself in the "community". I highly reccomend this book.… (more)
LibraryThing member whiskerkid
One of my favorite books. It showed how controled we can make ourselves because we are scared to live our lives and make choices. I'm a rebel and this book gave me wings
LibraryThing member MrsBond
I can see why this book is a favorite for literature teachers. The tale is well crafted, engaging, and thought provoking. There are so many hot topics: education, euthanasia, surrogate pregnancy, designer babies, adoption, arranged marriage, and governmental power and control. It is hard not to find comparisons to the educational system, childhood, society with the world Lowry creates. Her society has perfected the practice protecting itself from itself, embracing "sameness" while apologizing for free thought.… (more)
LibraryThing member PaigeMcIlwain
Jonas is part of a seemingly perfect community in which there is no pain, no starvation, and no war; however, there is also no true feeling - no love. Jonas does not discover the lack of choice and feeling that the members of his community have until he is selected as the Receiver. He is held responsible for holding all of the memories for life. These memories can be joyous or unbearably painful. As he receives these memories from the old receiver, the Giver, he discovers the truth about his community. He learns that things are not as perfect as they seem, and he relies on the Giver to help him change this.

This book could encourage a lot of deep thinking from adolescents. A class of older middle schoolers would probably find this book fascinating. I think prediction would be a great literary tool to use with this book. There is much mystery throughout The Giver, so allowing students to predict the outcome would promote active thinking. This book could be used to prompt discussion on different types of governments. The government in this community is somewhat like a dictatorship, so students might be interested to learn that dictatorships can still be found. Conversations on war and starvation could also be spawned by The Giver.

I have never read a book like this. It is simple to read, but still provoked me to think more deeply. After seeing the twisted government in this particular community, I found a new appreciation for the choices that I am given in life. Jonas was a brave character, and I found myself cheering for him and his freedom as I read. I very much enjoyed that the reader is left to make his or her own conclusion at the end of the book.
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LibraryThing member Hyzenthlay1537
This book, if read from a truly looking at the surface way would appear something like boy in futuristic society gets memories from an old guy,boy figures out that they kill people there, boy runs away because they were going to kill his adoptive little brother. Now if the book appeared to be just that then you should read this book when you've been around the block a couple more times, for I have some friends who got exactly that from the book they came back to me after reading it saying "How can you even read this? It was so boring I nearly napped off in the middle." But if this book is looked at from a substantially deeper perspective you will find a boy who lives in a society were all even semi-deep emotions are non-existent, then the boy gets a 'assignment' to the giver where real emotions and knowledge are thrust upon him. The only criticism I have on the book (and the reason it has four stars instead of five) is that I found the last few chapters where he's starving in the cold where extremely unpleasant and she should have just cut it off at the point where he gets over the bridge. Overall a marvolously done book with a most fascinating concept.… (more)
LibraryThing member erburr117
A very good book, reminiscent of many other utopian/dystopian novels like 1984 and Brave New World, among many. The story is about a boy named Jonas who lives in "the community" which is fairly isolated from the rest of the world. Color and music have been eliminated, climate control prevents any changes in weather, and the children's and adults lives are strictly monitored and set in place without any need for anyone to ever make their own decisions. Jonas is selected with the high honor of becoming the next Receiver, and in doing so discovers a completely different world that now only resides in the memories of himself and the Giver. A very good book, regardless of age. Realistic enough to not confuse the reader, but with enough fantasy to keep the reader, reading. I think this would make a good book for a reluctant reader, not too long, not a lot of use of difficult words, but the story is so well written that I think it would encourage a reluctant reader to try out other books.… (more)
LibraryThing member sirfurboy
I enjoyed this book very much and finished it quickly. It is a tale that will set you thinking, and it is just a good story. However I must admit to some disappointment. My expectations were very high for this work. It is Newbery medal winner, a book that we know from the author's comments, was very well received - beyond anything she had experienced before, and thus I was expecting something exceptional. What I read was a story that had some flaws, and set me thinking, but was no more profound than Nicholas Fisk, Robert Westall (albeit himself a Carnegie medal winner) or other such authors. This was a very good book - just not exceptional.

Before I get picky, I would point out I would still like to recommend this book to older young adult readers.

But what did I not like? Well the world itself seems to lack explanation. We can understand perhaps why the world would seek to homogonise itself to reduce difference and relieve the suffering of difference and choice. But if we run with that premise, it is not clear why we would choose not to see colour. It is not really clear why we would choose to create the life we are shown. There is no hint, even, of some major event that caused people to react by turning themselves into automata. Personally I much preferred Orson Scott Card's "homecoming" series and also his "Worthing Saga", both of which explore this idea much more completely, and for my money, would be better and more thought provoking stories than this one.

But this is a childrens or young adult book, and space is limited, so we can excuse much of this perhaps. We also must excuse the lack of explanation of what is happening with memories. Why are memories never lost? what is the mechanism for the passing of memory? We don't know but just take it on trust that this is now how the world works.

Some people will not mind these gaps one bit, and for them this will be a five star book. For me though, I felt there were better renditions of the same story, although I still certainly enjoyed this one.
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LibraryThing member rintaun
The Giver was recommended to me by a friend; he told me that I was absolutely to know nothing about it when I read it. Of course, I had to know _something_ about it, so I read a quick synopsis. The book sounded pretty good, so I requested it on BookMooch. I received it earlier today, and read through it in two hours. It was that good.

The synopsis did it very little justice, nor will this review. Your best bet is to go out there and read the book; it isn't that long, but it is very, very good.

The Giver tells the tale of Jonas, a boy in living in a seemingly perfect world known only as the Community. Everyone is open about their feelings, people do not lie or steal or hurt others, and all in all it is a good place. But as the story goes on, Jonas is selected to be the next Receiver -- the one person in the Community who receives all the memories of the past -- the pain, the pleasure, the happiness, and the sadness -- so that nobody else must suffer. During this ordeal, Jonas comes to the conclusion that this is not, by far, a perfect world, as everyone is missing the most important things: colors, feelings -- and, most specifically, love.

The Giver is a tale of growth and the realization that life is meaningless without happiness, sadness, and love.
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LibraryThing member madelinelbaker
This novel is a good example of science fiction because it takes the ideas and traditions from our modern world but plays them out is a Utopian society. Everything that happens in the book could more or less happen now if we wanted it to. Overall it is science fiction instead of fantasy because it does not have magical unrealistic worlds, just describes a community that is fictional.… (more)
LibraryThing member DebbieMcCauley
This science fiction novel is set in a futuristic society, one which knows no pain or strife but only a shallow and bland sameness. There are no fish in the water; no animals on the land and the stuffed toys given to children are widely believed to be fictional. Jobs are assigned to each person according to ability with men, woman and children organised into a ‘family unit’ which has one male and one female child allocated.

Jonas, who is in his twelfth year, has been selected to the position ‘Receiver of Memory’. These memories will be received from a man known as the ‘Giver.’ He is charged with holding the memories of the ‘time before’ and advising the community when something out of the ordinary arises. The Giver also has the power to break some of the society’s draconian rules. As the collective memories are gradually passed to Jonas he becomes increasingly weighed down and torn between questioning the world he has always known and the world of the past; one filled with colour and pain, war and sunshine. Jonas’s experience of his reality is: “The life where nothing was ever unexpected. Or inconvenient. Or unusual. The life without colour, pain, or past” (p. 165). Community members may be ‘released’ to go and live ‘Elsewhere’ if they don’t conform, are elderly or unneeded extra children. When Jonas learns that ‘released’ is actually euthanasia by lethal injection his confusion builds.

I found this book both powerful and disturbing. The questions for discussion included at the end were very interesting. Is it really possible to create a perfect society and what might be the outcome of that perfection? This is one of the themes running throughout the book. Highly recommended for mid teens plus.
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LibraryThing member pdxwoman
This book had great potential. Well written, good world-building, some suspense, questioning of the status quo. The end, however, dragged on too long and the book sort of petered out as if the author wasn't sure how to wrap it up. Really left too many questions.

4-stars: Read a time or two and recommend freely to kids, very selectively to adults. (four stars only because I'd read it again...otherwise I'd give it 3)… (more)
LibraryThing member KarenHerndon
I liked this book until the end- which sucked!
I'm not in for Hollywood type endings and don't know how she could have ended this, but I really disliked
this ending.
The story seemed to led one to a hopeful righting of wrongs, a striving of what's right only to fall flat - thus, is the answer don't even try? why bother? - because it won't do any good anyway!??????… (more)
LibraryThing member EdGoldberg
In the Giver by Lois Lowry, the Ceremony for the 12s is when everyone gets their assignment--their occupation for the rest of their lives. Their assignment, like everything else in their lives, is carefullyl thought out, decided through careful observation. Asher has a sense of humor and is somewhat offbeat, so he's ripe for Director of Recreation. Fiona is caring as seen through her work with the Olds, so the Home for the Olds is perfect for her.

Jonas seems to have no special talents but somehow, he was 'selected', not assigned to be the next Receiver--the receiver of all memories from the past, from back and back and back. He's to receive them from the current Receiver, or the Giver.

Everyone's life is pretty much the same. A family unit is a monther and a father and one male child and one female child given from those assigned as brithing mothers. Meals are delivered and remains are taken away. When children grow up, their parents go to live with the Childless Adults. When they are old, they live with the Olds and when they are too old, they are released with a beautiful Releasing Ceremony. What that means, Jonas has no idea, until one day, the Giver allows him to watch a video of a releasing and it horrifies him.

In a world of sameness there are no differences, there is no color or emotion, pain or love. But memories are colorful because they predate the sameness of Jonas' world. And it opens up a new world for him. From then on, he doesn't understand how anyone can live with the sameness.

He and the Giver plan to change the world, but their plans go awry when Jonas finds out that little Gabriel, who's been living with them for a year isn't maturing fast enough and will be released the next morning. Jonas must flee earlier than planned.

Lowry's classic has created a world that is believable and horrifying. Taking all the variety out of life is unthinkable. She's created a set of characters that are totally believable and you want to get to know them. The means by which Lowry gets Jonas to learn about variety and feelings is unique. The story is intriguing and you want to keep reading. It is no wonder that The Giver won the Newbery Award.
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LibraryThing member chellinsky
This book has many important themes that I find pertinent in my grown life and that I missed in earlier readings of the book. The text praises individuality as a source of pleasure and joy. It describes the importance of feeling and experience all the ups and downs that life has to offer. It is a great testament to humanity and all its potential. It is one of those books, like The Prophet, that left me feeling changed for the better--I feel like I have a deeper and greater appreciation for the gift that is life once again.… (more)
LibraryThing member jolerie
Jonas was the same as everyone else. He looked the same, thought the same, spoke the same. Until his twelfth birthday. On that day he was chosen. Chosen to be different, set apart for a specific task that eventually causes him to see his world in a different light. In world where choices don't exist, and the people are governed by a strict code of conduct and rules, Jonas will see the truth. The truth will force him to do something no one else in his world has done before - to choose.

This book is a gem. As a huge fan of dystopian fiction, The Giver delivers a world so possible, it's scary. Despite being a short book, every page, every word is purposeful, packing a creepy punch that leaves me wondering if we aren't just one bomb away from living in a world not unlike the Community. My only critique would be I wished there was more. More history behind the Community. More on what happens to Jonas. More. Regardless, it was a great read, worth every award and accolade it has received.
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LibraryThing member socialchild
If you've read 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, or maybe Logan's Run, you will have this book figured out by the second or third page. The plot is nothing new: the community is a standard dystopia, and our hero, although he's been a part of this community all his life, has a life-altering change of awareness and tries to change his world.

That said, the story of how Jonas goes from an obedient, studious boy who is content within the community to inflicting unimaginable pain on the members of the community (for their own good, of course) is compelling. On page 1, the hero mentions a ceremony that will occur in December, and although I knew from reading the back cover of the book what would happen, I found I couldn't put it down until th ceremony was over--nearly half-way through the book.

Lowry is not as preachy as Orwell and Huxley, but there are a few anvils related less to authoritarian governments and over-modernization than to valuing diversity an free choice (which she seems to see as inter-related), so it makes for a good book for a young reader to begin with before being exposed to other, more adult dystopias. The end, for example, is just ambiguous enough for a young child to read and not be too disturbed by.
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