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Showing 1-10 of 4,561 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 9,665 reviews
on May 9, 2016
Bought for kiddos to use for monthly school book reports. These stories cover children coming of age in so cities that are restrictive and delusional. Interesting story lines and decently written for the current expectations now considers acceptable. Parents should be aware that there are some issues dealing with intimate attraction and starting the process of physical maturation in adolescents. Also, be aware that there are exterminations of members that are not congruent within the societies including infants. I wouldn't recommend this be read by children younger than 12-13.
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on August 4, 2017
If you let the fact that this is a children's series stop you from reading it, you will have made one of the greatest mistakes of your life. This quartet is and probably always will be my #1 go-to recommendation to anyone who asks me what they should read next. Most people have heard of The Giver, but few know that there are four books. They are all just as good (if not better?) than the first.

The lessons these books teach are poignant, important, and extraordinarily relevant to today's political climate. For example, one book features a small society of people who have welcomed outcasts and banded together to support one another and keep the group safe. It is almost a utopian society. Then they start to feel a bit threatened, and the talk about sealing the entrance and denying new people who need help "for the good of the group" starts to spread like poison. Sound familiar in 2017? (Messenger was written in 2004. It was meant for kids...or was it?)

The way Lois Lowry wrote these stories is breathtaking. They are not long books. The language is simple and straightforward. The sentences take what they are saying for granted, so they make you think and then make you wonder why you never thought that way before.
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on June 9, 2017
The Giver, awarded the Newbery Medal, is a dystopian novel following a young boy as he is chosen trained, to be the Receiver of Memories: the one person holding the collective memories of generation after generation, the one person who can see in color, feel emotions, and have any context for the world and experiences outside the gray, rigid society in which the novel takes place. Lowry’s novel is full of symbolism and meaning, but it must be decoded, the ending is left for the reader to interpret, and this may be why the novel lingers long after you have finished reading it.
I read this in a book club and one of my fellow readers said so aptly that “The Giver questions what it means to be human.” What does it mean to be human? Without our ability to feel or to remember are we truly alive or just going through the emotions of being alive? Other questions that were raised in this book and that could be so great in a classroom discussion of the novel are about choice; about whether it is better to be free and possibly die or to be alive but have every aspect of your life controlled; how far away are we from the controlled society represented in this novel? It is clear why Lowry’s The Giver is still read in classrooms today, why it is still on many reading lists, why it is often challenged (and even banned) and why it won a Newbery Award: this novel requires the reader to think.
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on November 26, 2014
The Giver by Lois Lowry in one word is fantastic. By the end of the story, I was overcome with the conclusion that I do not appreciate the beauty of life as I should, and I was also made aware of the dangers concerning a life abounding in conformity. I do not wish to lie, from the very beginning of chapter one, I was troubled with an unsettling eerie feeling of restlessness thanks to Lowry’s cleverness in illustrating a demented controlled bureaucracy. The entirety of the book is both dreary and burdensome, but so worth the read; such an eye-opener.

“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.”
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on September 12, 2014
Story appears to highlight the problems created by control of human thought and society based on science. Presents the difference to the older religious method. The theme highlights the two types of faith, faith in human scientific reason or faith in the older religious system. The old way brought much suffering. The new one brought no feelings at all. The conclusion is the chance for happiness is worth the possible cost of unhappiness.Another idea is that truth is precious. Lying is not a virtue. All should know the past and be able to learn from it, not just the authorities.

It is interesting that mind numbing drugs are a key part of the method currently used to control prison inmates.

The system described seems to be the one proposed by Henri St Simon (1760-1825). "Although he was born an aristocrat, in opposition to the feudal and military system, he advocated a form of technocratic socialism, where the economy would be managed by industrialists and technical specialists who would occupy positions of leadership based on technical merit. Simon believed that such an arrangement would lead to a national community of cooperation and technological progress that would eliminate the poverty of the lower classes. He felt that men of science, rather than the church, should be the leaders in society. Simon held the belief that those who are fitted to organize society for productive labour are entitled to rule it." (Wikipedia)

His student August Comte (1798-1857) continued to develop these ideas into his "Religion of Humanity". "Comte's social theories culminated in the "Religion of Humanity", which influenced the development of religious humanist and secular humanist organizations in the 19th century. Comte likewise coined the word altruisme (altruism). . . In the Scientific stage, which came into being after the failure of the revolution and of Napoleon, people could find solutions to social problems and bring them into force despite the proclamations of human rights or prophecy of the will of God. Science started to answer questions in full stretch. In this regard he was similar to Karl Marx and Jeremy Bentham."( Wikipedia)

These ideas are present in full force by Lowry. Comte proposed his new religion to resolve the problems of the French Revolution. This fits the explanation to the population for the total control in the book.

These ideas are still influencing the modern world. This book adds to the debate.
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on July 16, 2015
My Thoughts: I've finally decided to review this book. I read it first six months ago, and since then, have reread it three times. Since my most recent reread, I've also read Son, the last book in the series, and told myself that I had to review this or I probably would never do it.
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.)
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on August 17, 2014
Coming into this, I had very high expectations for this book. The medals and awards, the movie adaptation, the praise- I thought how could this not be mind blowing? Turns out, it's very possible. The first red flag was when I found out the book was only 180 pages, which, to me, is not long enough to develop a story, usually. I discarded this. So then I started my reading and in the beginning thought it was so great. The premise- a futuristic, corrupt society seemingly perfect to all its inhabitants -was great and unique for 1993. The characters were so stupid and naive it was almost hilarious,but still very entertaining,so basically the only thing that got this 3 stars was the plot, and the desire to know more twists in the plot. I always felt like something new was going to come up, which kept me hooked. On to the negative, this mostly came in the end. The ending was so confusing!! Spoiler: he talks about some sled and Christmas lights as he's starting to get all weak with Gabe the baby in his arms. Does he live, does he die, apparently it's open to interpretation! In the end he sounds like a crazy person , talking about getting on a sled and lights and riding down a hill, memories the Giver gave him. I couldn't tell whether this was real or whether he was dying and imagining things. If he did live, they should have continued the story: where did he go, the story of Gabe growing up, etc. Back to the beginning - it needed more pages, more explanation. It did not answer a lot of questions I had-no closure. Also, I was hoping this would be continued in the other books in the series, but all the other books are based off completely different people, I hate it when an author does this, because you don't want to hear about some other character when you want to hear more about the first one, the one you're now attached to. Lastly, the characters were so stiff and annoying, sometimes it was entertaining but sometimes it was just annoying. The Giver was the least annoying and corrupt person there, and the plot was predictable sometimes. I don't get all the praise this book received, The Fault in our Stars was better and it didn't win such a big award. I just don't get it.
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on January 10, 2017
The Giver is a very well-written book. It starts off softly, bringing you into a world that you realize is not the world you know. Lois Lowry has a talent of creating a world that you can feel yourself physically entering. You stand there and watch as the characters develop, struggle, and choose.

Although the reading is light and appropriate for all ages, the concepts and values in The Giver would only be properly understood and appreciated by mature teens and adults.

One of the most obvious themes is that all emotions are necessary for us to be human. This story is an embrace of the human spirit, in its dark and its light.

Lois Lowry is a talented author. I've read Gathering Blue (Giver Quartet) a companion to the Giver, and highly recommend it as well.
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on August 12, 2014
Dystopian themes are one of my favorite genres in literary fiction. In The Giver, the story starts out with a seemingly idyllic world, which on its surface seems like a perfect utopia of peace, family, and tranquility. However, underneath the faux front, this world is in reality dystopian existence. Eventually one person, who is eventually selected to be given the forbidden memories, senses something is wrong in their world and starts to subtly question society. This unease is the beginning of an existential journey to discover deeper and or different meaning of living.

The Giver is a gem of a novel is dystopia at its very best. This world of "sameness" that Lois Lowry has created is frightening in its understated menace. Twelve year old protagonist Jonas is one of the most poignantly written character that I have ever read in literary fiction. I felt myself transported into his world and walked with on his trails to become his community's Receiver of Memories. As Jonas gains more memories from the elder teacher, the Giver, he quickly realizes that his is based upon lies and treachery. The Giver is a great classic novel which offers an unusual take on what it means to be defined by a community that is not at all what it appears and to break free to discover a new world. I loved this book and it's highly recommended.
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on June 9, 2014
The premise of this book is that a group of elders essentially rule the lives of everyone. At what point do people say to themselves sure just completely rule my life. The people are essentially flat, and they lack extreme emotions. They eat what and when they are told to eat. They live in very controlled environments. They LITERALLY see their world in black and white. It is never explained how everything is controlled in this manner. Is it genetic manipulation? If so, they aren't good enough at genetic manipulation to get rid of red hair, which should be relatively simple if they are able to get rid of free will and emotions. (It isn't drugs like in Ira Levin's This Perfect Day.)

As you read through the grey landscape of this book, you will repeatedly ask yourself WHY. You will never get that answer.

The story centers on Jonas, who is to become a receiver of all the memories. The old receiver will become the giver of all the old memories. And you will be bonking your head on the wall trying to come up with these answers, why don't the citizens have their own memories of the past which would be passed down as stories? Then you find out that ten years ago the memories of a receiver were PASSED ALL the CITIZENS when they died without giving them away. How does that piece of magic work? We aren't told. And why doesn't Jonas recall receiving these memories that were so upsetting to ALL of the CITIZENS. He was like 7 or 8 years old and should have remembered.

The story is just given to us as this is the way it is, and the author manages to explain nothing.
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