The Giver
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The Giver (The Giver Quartet #1)

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4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  846,876 ratings  ·  34,937 reviews
Lois Lowry’s The Giver is the quintessential dystopian novel, followed by its remarkable companions, Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.

Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. When Jonas turns 12 he is singled out to receive special training from The Give...more
Paperback, 180 pages
Published May 11th 1999 by Bantam Books for Young Readers (first published 1993)
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  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
    The Giver (The Giver Quartet, #1)
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    Jocelin I just saw the movie and I thought that it was really good. It was very short, I wish there was more that they added from the book. Of course , the…moreI just saw the movie and I thought that it was really good. It was very short, I wish there was more that they added from the book. Of course , the book was better. You could feel the coldness & the colorless aspect of this society in the book than in the movie. I felt it did capture the essence of the book(less)
    Bodhi
    This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

    Community Reviews

    (showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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    Keely
    Lowry's book is a piece of nationalist propaganda, using oversimplification, emotional appeals, and dualistic morality to shut down her readers' minds. More troubling is that it is aimed at children, who don't yet have the critical faculties to defend themselves from such underhanded methods.

    Unsurprisingly, Lowry adopts the structure of the monomyth, equating a spiritual journey with a moral one. Her Christ-figure uses literal magic powers to rebel against his society. This rebellion and the mor...more
    Kristine
    I've taught this book to my 6th graders nine years in a row. Once I realized that the book is actually a mystery, and not the bland sci-fi adventure it seemed at first skim, I loved it more and more each time. Nine years, two classes most years... 17 TIMES. I've come to see that the book isn't the story of a depressing utopia. It's the story of the relationship between the main characters the Giver, Jonas, and... I won't say her name. And of course, the baby Gabe.

    Every year, as we read the book...more
    James Carroll
    Feb 12, 2014 James Carroll rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
    Recommends it for: anyone
    Shelves: fiction
    This book is perhaps the best refutation that I have seen in some time of a common philosophy of pain that is sometimes found in the popular media and in some versions of Buddhism. According to this philosophy, pain is the ultimate evil, and so, to eliminate pain and suffering we must give up desire, and individuality. Self is an illusion, and leads to pain; desire and agency are dangerous, so we should give them up and join the cosmic oneness "enlightenment" to find a utopia without pain. As Ge...more
    Julie
    I think I'm missing something. Everyone loves this book and I liked it too, but it wasn't amazing or anything.

    The Giver felt like a very sparse story to me. First, there isn't much characterization, so I didn't form an emotional connection with any of the characters -- not even with Jonas or the Giver (two central characters). Asher and Fiona (particularly Fiona) are introduced such that you assume they will play greater roles in the book than they do. I don't feel like I knew Mom or Dad or Lily...more
    Matt
    Mar 06, 2014 Matt rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
    Recommends it for: People who want to analyze how not to write sci-fi
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Nataliya

    After a re-read, I can no longer think of The Giver as simply a childish sci-fi tale with heavy moralistic leanings.



    What I see now is a story about growing up and confronting the world outside of the safe haven of childhood.
    Well, yes, of course, it *IS* a dystopian tale about a young boy growing up in the commune of sameness that is devoid of colors or intense feelings or individuality - and the said boy has an unusual ability to experience what the others are missing out on, and he selflessly
    ...more
    mark monday
    ATTENTION CITIZENS! OUR BROTHER COMMUNITY OF SAMENESS HAS FALLEN! DOUBLEPLUS UNGOOD! BUT DO NOT FEAR! OUR REVOLUTIONARY RHETORIC AND UTOPIC IDEALS REMAIN SACROSANCT! IN OUR BROTHER COMMUNITIES OF OCEANIA, ANIMAL FARM, PANEM, THX 1138-VILLE, AND FAHRENHEIT 451 TOWNSHIP! AND SPREADING FURTHER! DOUBLEPLUS GOOD!

    brief synopsis: at some point far in the future, an 11-year old boy named Jonas comes of age in an unnamed utopic community. coming of age means he is given his life's work; in Jonas' case, h...more
    Jj873
    Upon finishing this book, not 20 minutes ago, I'm left with several thoughts:
    1. This book should be required reading for everyone with the emotional maturity to handle it! (I believe that blindly labeling The Giver as a children's book is neither realistic nor necessarily wise, in some instances. Parents would be well advised to thoroughly screen it before offering it to an emotionally sensitive child to read.)

    2. Very few things leave me mentally stuttering as I struggle to put my thoughts into...more
    Joyzi
    My Reaction After Reading This:
    wtf haruhi Pictures, Images and Photos

    2 stars

    Whoa?

    Why?

    Really?


    SO FIRST OFF I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THAT I REALLY REALLY REALLY WANTED TO LIKE THIS BOOK SINCE MANY HUMAN BEINGS READ AND LOVE THIS BOOK AND MANY HAVE CONSIDERED THIS AS ONE OF THEIR FAVORITE BOOKS OF ALL TIME AND BEFORE I POSTED MY RATING I BROWSE THE RATINGS OF OTHER GR MEMBERS SO THAT I KNOW THAT I'M NOT THE ONLY ABNORMAL HUMAN BEING WHO DOESN'T THINK THAT THIS BOOK IS GOOD OR GREAT OR WHATEVER!!!

    (*coughs* sorry I forgot to turn off the CAPS...more
    Stacey
    Apr 23, 2008 Stacey rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
    Recommended to Stacey by: Lisa
    How have I missed out on this book for so many years? The premise of living a life without agency is something to think about. I can't tell you how often I have wished (prayed) for a world filled with only peace and happiness, where no one feels pain, hunger or sadness. This book made me seriously rethink that wish and realize - once and for all - that without feeling the depths of sadness, we can never know happiness. What an amazing story!
    Jeffrey Keeten
    *******SPOILER ALERT*******

    “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.”

     photo the-givermovieposter_zps5d66ff4f.jpg
    Read the book, watch the movie, experience the synergy.

    We don’t live in a dystopian world, but we do have a growing number of our population who believe that all that exists is NOW, that history is irrelevant, and that there is no future. It simplifies existence when a person can convince themselves of this. No need to lea...more
    Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
    I was a little creeped out when I first started reading this story. In fact, I almost didn't continue. It seemed like some kind of freaky propaganda for a fundamentalist society where everyone obeys without question and acts all fake nicey-nice and pretends everything is fine when it's not. I kept reading just to find out why the book is so popular. I really liked it once I found out what was going on. It's the opposite of what I thought at first. Conformity and uniformity are traps that rob us...more
    Tatiana
    As every Newbery Medal winner, The Giver is a very well written children's book. Its deceptively simplistic language reveals a rather horrifying dystopian world. This is a world where people are not given freedom to decide anything for themselves - their spouses, children, careers, future, even clothes or haircuts are all pre-planned and pre-selected for them. They are not allowed to even own their feelings and dreams. Their sexuality is suppressed. Of course, it is done for common good - to pre...more
    Emily May
    Reread just in time for the new movie!

    I've been meaning to come back to The Giver and write a better review for some time now and the soon-to-be-released movie seemed like as good an excuse as any. My rating remains the same even though it's been several years (and many badly-written YA dystopias) since I last picked this up. I still think it's a good book, with an interesting concept and sophisticated writing... but I was never 100% sold.

    For one thing, the protagonist and narrator has just turn...more
    Riku Sayuj

    Plato sans Philosophy

    I liked the set-up and the basic concept, but just basing it on Plato's Republic does not make something deeply philosophical. Initially it was fun to trace various elements to Plato and see what Lowry has done with them in her 'community,' but soon it became clear that the book is based on a very dumbed-down version of the Theory of Forms and by applying it to memory (thus making memory inhabit/come form the mysterious ill-defined place the Forms were supposed to). That is...more
    karen
    snif. this books marks the end of dystopian month. it's okay, it was getting a little bleak in here. i'm not sure if this counts as dystopian, because it reads more like a teen cult novel. with magic. we never really find out what is happening in The World Outside - this could all take place in some small gated community like that one in disney which is totally creepy in its forced perfection. i absolutely support lowry's apparent stance on the twin agenda - but the rest of it seems underthought...more
    Mohammed Arabey
    مـاذا اذا كــان الانـسان مســـيرا وليس مـخــيرا؟
    description
    نعم...سيكون هناك عدل مطلق ,مساواه مجتمع منظم يسير كالساعه
    لا يمكنك مخالفه القانون اكثر من مره والا فسيتم اخراجك من ذلك المجتمع
    نختار لك منذ صغرك المجال الذي ستدرب فيه..ثم نجد لك عملا يناسبك
    طبقا لنظام المراقبه يختار لكل فرد زوجه او زوجته يناسبا بعضهما
    ثم نختار لكما ابن واحد وابنه واحده يناسبكما
    هذه هي اسرتك..هذا هو عملك..وعندما تكبر تجلس في دار المسنين برعايه متكامله..لحين خروجك من المجتمع
    مجتمعا يربط بين افراده روابط يحكمها القانون وليست العواطف الانسان
    ...more
    Trevor
    Another book I wouldn’t have read if not for becoming a teacher. This is a dystopia based on Plato’s Republic and I’m particularly fond of such dystopias. It is much the same as the film The Matrix in its own way (same philosophical roots) except this one focuses more on the dark side of Plato’s vision – where as the Matrix focuses much more on the obligations of the Philosopher Kings (those who know) to fix things.

    It really surprises me that so many people write books that so clearly refer back...more
    K.D. Absolutely
    Jan 11, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
    Recommends it for: Jillian (how were you able to submit that book report?)
    Recommended to K.D. by: some of my Goodread friends rated this with 5 stars
    Shelves: dystopian, childrens
    This book is almost indescribably beautiful. It is comparable to the beauty of George Orwell's classic 1984. It is about the world in "sameness" when there are no more differences among its people, there are no more colors, no more music and people do not know what love is. Above all, it is a story of relationships between the Giver (who keeps the memories of those days pre-sameness) and the Receiver (who receives those memories). During the first part of the book, the main child protagonist, 12...more
    Madeline
    This is the part where I'm supposed to go, "Ooh, this book is such a terrifying wake-up call to the dark side of our views of Paradise, and even though we wish death and pain weren't a part of our lives, they're necessary because without them we would be ignorant and lost, and blah blah blah..."

    So: Ooh, this book is such a terrifying wake-up call to the dark side of our views of Paradise, and even though we wish death and pain weren't a part of our lives, they're necessary because without them w...more
    kari
    Imagine a world where you have no decisions to make. From the moment you’re born until your last breath, someone else decides for you. What you wear, what you eat, what your profession will be, who your life partner will be or whether or not you’re allowed to have one, or children, which aren’t biologically yours as all children are produced by the women whose job it is to create them. All emotions must be examined and discussed so they can be smoothed out of existence. The people’s lives have b...more
    Jeane
    Lowry, Lois (1993). The Giver. NY: Bantam Doubleday Publishing Group, Inc. 180 pages.

    Summary and Evaluation: In this 1994 Newbery Medal winner, the reader is introduced to Jonas, who lives in a utopian community without pain or fear; where all his needs are provided for – and all his decisions are made for him. During his twelfth year he is selected as the community’s Receiver to absorb and hold all the memories of humankind, both good and bad. His training will expose truths about the world and...more
    Gloria Mundi
    I've been on a dystopia roll recently, it seems. So here goes. This is supposed to be 1984 for children.

    Jonas, the protagonist, is a 12 year old boy who lives in a world without war, pain, hunger, death, misery or, even, bad weather, where everyone is happy and has their place in society. Yet gradually a much more disquieting picture emerges of a world where all personal choice has been taken away, where every decision is made for the individual by the "state" (I have put state in quotation mar...more
    Wendy Darling
    Re-read in preparation for the film--still powerful, and so impressive, especially in its simplicity and brevity. Interesting to see its DNA in many other dystopian YAs that have come along in recent years.

    In case you're interested, I thought the film was pretty good, and the actor who played Jonas was perfectly cast. The changes they made to original story actually worked to the adaptation's benefit, and in some ways it expands the original themes and relationships in the book.

    Full review: htt...more
    Crystal Starr Light
    “It's the choosing that's important, isn't it?”

    Jonas lives in a world of "Sameness" with his Mother, his Father, and his younger sister, Lily. It's a world governed by rules, by rigid structure, by conformity. Jonas enjoys his life--until he is selected to be The Receiver. His job? To receive the memories from The Giver of the past. And what the past unveils shows a drastically different world than Jonas lives in.

    This week is Banned Books Week, and in honor, I selected this from the ALA Banned B...more
    Dave
    Being a student at the time, The Giver didn't seem to 'hit the spot' so to speak. As a 16 year old teen, it's funny to say "I live to read, read to live" but it's true. Let's just say I wouldn't live to read The Giver.
    Sharon
    Jonas grows up in a community where everybody and everything are the same. The people do not have choices, everything is chosen for them. It is known in the community that once a child turns twelve, they are assigned to a job which they must start training for.

    Once Jonas turns twelve he is assigned the position of the Receiver of Memories, the person who the Giver, the keeper of memories, gives memories of the past. But Jonas will struggle with many of the memories that he receives such as pain,...more
    Stephen
    I generally have trouble with dystopian fiction and put this one off for some time.

    Yet, when I started it, it was strangely compelling. In many ways it turns the genre inside out. In the the overbearing society viewed in 1984 Big Brother was everywhere and wanted to know everything. Here we have a society that wants to know nothing. In many ways this willful ignorance is even more chilling. It's certainly presented in such a way that you can't really condemn the people who keep it going. They d...more
    Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

    What would you give to live in a perfect world? “A life where nothing was ever unexpected. Or inconvenient. Or unusual. The life without color, pain, or past.” What if all your needs were taken care of and you were guaranteed shelter, employment, food, clothing, etc.? What if that world protected you from ever making a wrong choice? What if those choices were things like choosing your own spouse, your own job, how many children to have...more
    Michael
    Growing up, I read a lot of books for various English classes, some I enjoyed, some I didn't care for that much. Unfortunately, "The Giver" came along a few years after I graduated because, looking back, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more than a good chunk of the novels I read back in middle school.

    In the near future, Jonas is a 12-year-old boy who is a member of a society that seems to be a virtual utopia. People are unfailing nice, everyone gets along, there is little or no suffering o...more
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    Taken from Lowry's website:
    "I’ve always felt that I was fortunate to have been born the middle child of three. My older sister, Helen, was very much like our mother: gentle, family-oriented, eager to please. Little brother Jon was the only boy and had interests that he shared with Dad; together they were always working on electric trains and erector sets; and later, when Jon was older, they always...more
    More about Lois Lowry...
    Number the Stars Gathering Blue (The Giver #2) Messenger (The Giver #3) Son (The Giver #4) Gossamer

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    “The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.” 2963 likes
    “We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others.” 269 likes
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