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The Giver

By Lois Lowry

The Giver
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  • Hardcover: Apr 1993,
    192 pages.
    Paperback: May 1999,
    192 pages.

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Unlike I anticipated, this book is not strictly a children's tale. It's meaning goes way beyond the surface of a nice little easy to read story. The people in Loury's tale chose one from among their ranks to shield themselves from the slings and arrows of life on earth and the consequences of their failure to live life according to divine law. In doing so they created a situation for themselves that was entirely unnatural, even robotic. They turned the chosen one, "The Receiver" , intended to be the Inner "Giver" of Wisdom to the people in their everyday lives, into a Taker of the sturm and drang of the people's karma by which they themselves are required to develop their own inner capacity to live spiritually rich and meaningful God directed lives as souls embodied on earth. To me, this tale raises troubling questions about the efficacy of the long held belief in the Lone Sacrificial Bearer of the sins of the people as the way to acquire personal and communal happiness.
Jordyn Keyser (07/16/11)

The Giver
In the book The Giver, Lois Lowery takes his audience on an out of body experience to a completely different community and way of life.
In this narrative we follow the life of Jonas, a young boy who just turned twelve. The utopian community in which he lives throws a new spin on life without worries. For Jonas and his family there is no knowledge of life with choices, colors, music, animals, seasons, diverse countries, holidays, family and many other experiences that we take for granted. This type of life is all he has ever known, that is until he turned twelve. Jonas is selected to be the town’s new Giver. He is thrown into a whole new perspective of his world. Experiences that Jonas has never imagined are given to him through the memories of the past. To Jonas, this old way of living seems so much better. He wonders “But why can’t everyone have the memories? I think it would seem a little easier if the memories were shared. You and I wouldn’t have to bear so much by ourselves, if everyone took a part.”(Lowry, page 112) Because of this he is faced with the quandary of living in a community where no one else has any idea of what they are missing out on.
I found this book to be extremely enjoyable, eye-opening, and thought-provoking. It is simple in context but profound in meaning and thought. For this reason, it appeals to both an older and younger audience. The book leaves plenty of opportunities to ponder a different way of life. It really made me think about how I take my world for granted.
Towards the end of the book Jonas is faced with death, or comes close to death. Lowery leaves the readers occasion to interpret the ending for themselves. I really liked how Lowry ends the book by making a familiar connection with a memory from earlier in the book. By doing this he ties the beginning with the end. Sometimes when writers leave questions unanswered it doesn’t work. But I found this method to be catchy and memorable, drawing the audience into the story and leaving them with a feeling of wonder.
I highly recommend this book to anyone searching for an eye-opening storyline and an enjoyable read. I definitely plan on reading more of Lois Lowery’s works. If they are as well written as The Giver is I know I will enjoy them.
Erika Layne (07/11/11)
The book The Giver, by Lois Lowry, is about Jonas, a young boy living in an ultra strict society with lots of rules, restrictions, and no conflict.
Each year for the first 12 years of life, the community has a ceremony where children gain new rights. At age 7, they receive a jacket with buttons on the front. At age 9, they receive bicycles, and at age 12, they receive their jobs. This is a huge deal for the children, because their job is chosen for them.
Jonas is assigned a unique job with a man called, “The Giver.” As he learns what his job entails, he discovers fascinating and horrible things. Then one day, he learns something that will forever change him. “Jonas felt sensation inside himself, the feeling of terrible pain clawing its way forward to emerge in a cry.” After this event, he decides that a change must occur in the community.
I thought this was an excellent book. From the beginning, I had lots of questions about things that I didn’t understand in the book, but eventually most of them were answered by the end.
This book really got me to think. I started to compare our society to theirs. It was a really interesting story line with intriguing characters. The word choice that the author used helped me to really visualize what was happening in the book. I wish that there were more chapters at the end of the book. I’m still trying to determine what the ending means, and I wish that it had gone on. Overall though, I think this is a great book and a must read for everyone.
Alessandra Elicone (08/15/10)

The Giver
When reading The Giver, to know what it's about isn't to read these comments, but to look at the book from your own view, to read it however you want. The Giver is a great book for reader's among all ages.
Cory (07/10/10)

The Giver
The Giver is about a young boy named Jonas who lives in a utopian community. Until the time he is 12 years old he has no idea what the real world is about. The community that he lives in provides an atmosphere where there is no feeling. Within the community there is one giver. He carries with him all the memories of the real world that the community does not have. He knows the truth about life. The “Elders” of the community need the giver for his advice when they need to make a large decision. But, the giver cannot live on forever. Jonas is selected at the age of 12 to become the new giver and receive all the memories that the giver has.

The book’s greatest strength would have to be the fact that it is easy to read for younger people but still gives them an opportunity to expand their thinking at the same time. Its weakness, if I had to pick one, would be that the author does not describe physical scenes to you. It’s up to your imagination to take over the overall view of what you are “seeing.” Overall I really enjoyed this book. There were times when I could not put it down. I recommend it for anyone.
PDXReader (10/11/09)

Interesting view of a dystopian future
I read this book in celebration of Banned Book Week (2009-09-26 through 2009-10/03). I'm not entirely sure why it would have been a challenged novel, as the future it paints is so distant that I personally believe children in its intended age group would be unlikely to find it disturbing, but then again, I'm not a parent.

One of the more interesting aspects of the novel is the way the reader is initially led to believe the characters live in a utopia; only gradually is it revealed what they've given up to achieve peace and order. It's a vivid, unforgettable book.
The plot is not overly original (see "Logan's Run," for example), but Lowry's re-imagining of it breathes new life into the story.
Kilahoe Absalkanaka (03/31/08)

Too Good 4 Words
The Giver is the most compelling story told ever. It enriches the life of its readers and makes me appreciate true freedom and individualism.
Betty Hampson (02/21/08)

The Giver was Great! :p
The Giver was a very fascinating story of a colorless world with no love; just a few feelings here and there.
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