- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Ember; Reissue edition (January 24, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780385732550
- ISBN-13: 978-0385732550
- ASIN: 0385732554
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 10,352 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #491,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Giver Paperback – January 24, 2006
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"A powerful and provacative novel.”
-- The New York Times
From the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Lois Lowry is a multi-award-winning author who has written many popular books. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is the author of the popular Anastasia Krupnik books and was the recipient of the Newbery Medal for Number the Stars and for The Giver.
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Jonas lives in a dystopia disguised as a utopia where everyone is cared for and all has a place. Everything is controlled, from the weather, to the number of births in each community. Every family unit is assigned two children and all jobs are assigned by the committee of elders based on an individual’s strengths and interests. There is no want, no lack or homeless. Crime is all but extinct (as are many animals) and the elder residents are pampered and taken care of until the day of their Release to Elsewhere. The children undergo a strict form of training where emphasis is on manners, precise language and obedience.
When Jonas turns twelve he is selected as the new Receiver of Memory. As the Receiver in Training , Jonas’ training consists of taking on all the community’s memories from the outgoing Receiver. Once his training begins, Jonas becomes privy to situations, places, sensations and feelings that has him quickly understanding that nothing is as it seems in his idyllic community. The world he lives in vastly differs from the memories of the Giver, and in some instances, is a flat out lie. As he gains knowledge of concepts such as family holidays, seasons, conflict and even color; Jonas realizes that the Sameness of his community is not ideal; it’s cruel brainwashing When faced with this truth, Jonas realizes that he also now has something that the rest of the community doesn't .... a choice.
As far as novels that you must read because you are in school and it’s assigned goes, this is probably one of the better ones. I remember when I was in school all the books we had to read were completely boring it truly is a wonder I love reading after the dreck I was exposed to!
Jonas world is bleak and boring. Nobody sees color, everyone is taught to be painfully polite as they go about their lives volunteering at various places, discussing their dreams and feelings all the while being totally naïve to the things that they are missing. At least in the Hunger Games, the folks in District Twelve knew they had it bad… the people in Jonas’ community are like the proverbial frogs in the boiling pot. The Giver has provided quite a few topics of discussion for my son and I as I am sure it has provided for his class and I am sure it will continue to provide in the future.
While the Giver is identified as Teen & Young Adult, do not, for one minute believe it is written on an elementary level. The topics that are addressed, either in passing or in greater depth are compelling and thought provoking. Even after I finished this book, I find myself thinking about a person, situation or comment and still being affected. The cliffhanger ending will leave the reader with a mixed feeling of relief and curiosity. As part of a quartet of books by Lois Lowry, I am looking forward to reading more books in this series for more glimpses into dystopia through Lois Lowry’s eyes.
With over 4 1/2 hours in the car each way, we were able to finish 2 audiobooks from start to finish. By pure coincidence, they both ended up being authored by Lois Lowry. I have never been more engaged in a children's book than I was during this road trip. I was completely lost in these stories, as were my children.
The first book that we listened to was 'The Giver'. What a captivating, albeit bleak, fictional world Ms. Lowry has created! I was absolutely spellbound by her storytelling.
Set in the future, Jonas lives in a community that has traded their humanity for the illusion of safety. They block anything that would trigger the emotional highs and lows that define a person's life as we now know it. They don't experience the heartache of loss, but they never give in to the joys of life either. They are shells, robotic in their day to day existence and devoid of emotion.
Although this is a children's book, it had a feeling eerily similar to George Orwell's '1984'. Independent thinking was non-existent. People "confessed" their thoughts, dreams and rule violations. The presence of the omnipresent leaders in their homes, ruling their lives, was pervasive and all-powerful.
Jonas is getting ready to experience the ceremony of 12. This particular ceremony is an important one in the community, a rite of passage into adulthood. It is at this ceremony that each child is assigned their job within the community. They will remain in their assigned role until they are no longer productive and they are "released".
Unlike the other children, Jonas is unsure of his calling within the community. He doesn't feel a clear draw to one occupation or another. He is worried of what the future holds for him and he is beginning to notice some unusual things that others do not.
Jonas is ultimately assigned a very prestigious role within the community. It is perhaps the most important role in the community, but comes with a tremendous burden. He cannot share his experiences with anyone other than the man that he will be replacing, the current "receiver". As his training progresses, Jonas comes to question everything that he has ever been taught.
From beginning to end, this book held my rapt attention. It was beautifully written and thought provoking. 'The Giver' serves as a cautionary tale to the human race, warning of what can become when we censor our very emotions and blot out all of the differences that make us unique individuals.
There was plenty of action and suspense along the way. It was also a much more emotional read than I had anticipated. I'll never forget the look on my 9 year-old's face when some of the true meanings of different phrases, like "released", truly sunk in. Don't even get me going on baby Gabe! Luckily, I think most of that went over the head of my 5 year-old.
Overall, I thought that this was a spectacular book! It is one that I would not have normally read, but I'm so glad that I did. I can only hope that the lessons learned will resonate with my daughter and the other children that read it. An all-around great story! I'll probably download the next books in the series for our next road-trip to take "Nana" home after the holidays.