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The Giver (illustrated; gift edition) (Giver Quartet) Hardcover – October 25, 2011
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“A powerful and provocative novel”—The New York Times
“Wrought with admirable skill -- the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly provocative novel.”—Kirkus, starred review
“Lowry is once again in top form raising many questions while answering few, and unwinding a tale fit for the most adventurous readers.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The simplicity and directness of Lowry's writing force readers to grapple with their own thoughts.”— Booklist, starred review
“The theme of balancing the values of freedom and security is beautifully presented.”— The Horn Book Magazine, starred review
About the Author
Lois Lowry is the author of more than thirty books for children and young adults, including the New York Times bestselling Giver Quartet and popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader’s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award. Ms. Lowry now divides her time between Cambridge and an 1840s farmhouse in Maine. To learn more about Lois Lowry, see her website at loislowry.com or follow her on Twitter @LoisLowryWriter.
Top customer reviews
And long before it became chic, Lois Lowry produced a hauntingly memorable quartet of stories set in a world where emotions are suppressed and people with gifts are imprisoned. The four books are loosely tied together -- the first and last most tightly -- and mingle fantasy and science fiction, with haunting prose and some very strong characters, as well as a message of compassion and acceptance.
In "The Giver," 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 Gabe.
"Gathering Blue" introduces us to Kira, a young girl born with a deformed leg in another community that leaves disabled or sickly people to die in the Field of Leaving. She is only kept alive because of her skill with embroidery and weaving, so she can make the Singer's robe. As she comes to realize the horrible flaws in her village's way of life, Kira must make an important decision -- stay and try to improve things, or leave for a place that would welcome her?
"Messenger" was somewhat controversial upon its release, since some fans of "The Giver" felt that it "ruined" the bleak ending they had imagined for the first book. In takes place in Village, a community made up of outcasts, misfits and disabled people, ruled by the kindly Leader. But the Village is surrounded by Forest, a terrifying and deadly forest that kills those who venture into it -- and though the awkward teen boy Matty has been able to go there, it is now growing darker and twisted. As the Village begins to close itself off from the outside world, Matty finds that he may be the only one who can save them all.
"Son" takes us back in time to Claire, a young woman whose entire purpose is to produce babies for the Community -- and her child is the sickly baby boy known as Gabe, who vanishes with Jonas into the great unknown. Her desperation to find her son inspires her on a years-long quest to find him -- and a Faustian pact with a terrible figure who only wants suffering.
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 ("Now, on this shattered morning, he felt nothing but knots and snarls under his fingertips"). And she fills the stories not with bombast and battle, but with tragedy and quiet triumph -- and while the story is in a future world fragmented into multiple civilizations, there's a hint of the fantastical as well. Think special powers, the mysterious Trademaster, and whatnot.
And she creates a varied collection of characters. All of them are tied together into a story that culminates in "Son," and they all have the theme of seeking to improve the cruel, callous worlds they were in -- Jonas by leaving the Community to the memories they are trying to avoid, Kira by staying and working, and Matty through self-sacrifice. Claire is the odd duck out, a young woman adrift in the world, desperate to find her baby.
"The Giver Quartet" is a haunting memorable collection of novels, some of which inspired the current widespread dystopian novels. Rich, haunting and well-written.
“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” – Sigmund Freud
3 Things I Liked:
1. The simplicity of the story conveyed through the chapters; a positive message for everyone to read
2. The Giver! His meekness, the respect and honor he holds towards the memories he has been entrusted to carry despite how burdensome the task may be
3. The ending. Which reminded me so much of Peter Van Houten’s Imperial Affliction; the ending has infinite possibilities!
3 Things I Did Not Like:
1. The book is recommended for children 7+ I personally would not recommend this book to any child as I feel that it supports sensitive issues such as: suicide, genocide, self-medication to suppress general feelings
2. I know this is totally unrelated to the book, but I have not liked the negative reviews the movie trailer has received; I am choosing to stay optimistic about the movie.
3. Not enough chapters! Way too short! Give me 400 pages worth of reading! XD
My Favorite Quotes:
' “The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”
' “You will be faced, now, with pain of a magnitude that none of us here can comprehend because it is beyond our experience. The Receiver himself was not able to describe it, only to remind us that you would be faced with it, that you would need immense courage.”
' “Today is declared an unscheduled holiday.”
' “I don’t know what you mean when you say ‘the whole world’ or ‘generations before him.’I thought there was only us. I thought there was only now.”
' “Gabe?” The newchild stirred slightly in his sleep. Jonas looked over at him. “There could be love”, Jonas whispered.”
' “If everything’s the same, then there aren’t any choices! I want to wake up in the morning and decide things!”
' “For the first time, he heard something that he knew to be music. He heard people singing. Behind him, across vast distances of space and time, from the place he had left, he thought he heard music too. But perhaps, it was only an echo.”
The thing about The Giver is that my opinion on it has changed every time I read it. When I first read it, I rated it only two stars. The story, though meaningful, was a little too plain and short for my liking - I felt like it didn't meet my expectations. However, after reading the second book, Gathering Blue, which I LOVED, I felt I should reread this book just in case I had missed something. With my lowered expectations, I found a new appreciation and love for this book, and bumped my rating up to five stars. Having said this, The Giver is hard to review, because, like I said, you see something new in the story every time.
Personally, I liked the character of Jonas. He's a strong, thoughtful main character for a powerful, thought-provoking series. The concept of this book is very fascinating - I have to applaud Lowry for this, I never thought I would read a dystopia with such an outgoing, terrifyingly realistic future for our world. The whole Releasing thing (actually, spoiler alert, killing) kept me on the edge of my seat, and, like every book in the Giver Quartet, I shed a few tears. Because the thing I've really realized about this series is that it really is a metaphor, in every way possible, of our world. I won't elaborate, all I'll say is that I would definitely give this book a try - and that I agree with the first sentence of the summary: "The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most INFLUENTIAL novels of our time." (Oh, and the word haunting, and in the last book, chilling.)