The Giver (The Giver, #1) The Giver discussion

Does anyone besides me not like this book?

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Mallory Everyone recommended this book to me. Once I finally got my hands on it I thought it was weird, odd, slightly disturbing, and just didn't like it at all. This is just my opinion and I was just wondering if anyone had the same opinion as me.

Lisa I agree with the weird and disturbing part. I think that Young adult writers often try to stun the readers with extreme scenarios like this. What would happen if rules were made for everything? What if society were made to be so similar that the result was this creepy "community"?

message 3: by Meh (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meh Wow, you must not read very much science fiction. The Giver is pretty tame stuff, even old hat. The situation is a classic that has been used ever since science fiction has been around. I didn't think it extreme at all. Now "1984", that's extreme.

Amanda Maybe one reason the book seems 'wierd, odd, slightly disturbing' to you is that it was meant to disturb. I don't claim to know what Lowry was thinking, but I think the book is supposed to make you uncomfortable. The other two related books, Gathering Blue, and the Messenger, are also about people who face challenging and painful circumstances. The endings are not triumphant, happily ever afters. What they leave you with is hope. The protagonists are strong - they are willing to sacrifice, to cling to what they believe is right. I think they are all beautiful books.

In Gathering Blue the community is much different than the one in The Giver, but it's just as much of a dystopia. Instead of everyone being the same, it's run on the lines of the strong being on top and everyone else scrapping like starving dogs over the leftovers. Cruelty is the norm.

I liked these books, but if you didn't - that's a valid opinion. Different strokes and all that.

Pandora I had trouble with The Giver too. My major problem was the ending. I'm pretty sure what Lowry meant by the ending but, found it too difficult to deal with so, I delibertly find the ending too vague. As for 1984 that is adult book. There are other children books that are also more extreme. Such as Last Book in the Universe, House of Scorpion. The dark tone for these books work because you know right from the start where the books are going. Where as The Giver it is trying to have things both ways not to be too extreme yet have dark undertones.

I thought Lowry's Gossamer was a better book. Strange but, beautiful.

Kira It was meant to be a eutopia, distopia book, in my opinion. I loved when I read it. If I knew you, I'd be one of the people recommending it.

Ross Bussell I read this book each year to my students (thus making me a teacher). They thoroughly get lost in the world of The Giver. Yes, the book is disturbing, uncomfortable, and a little weird at times. But, as someone who reads a lot of science fiction, I felt right at home, and this book actually became the catalyst that had many of my students reading more witout me having to push them.

Like with most books of this nature, there will be people who don't enjoy the experience, but overall, it's an amazing piece of ya literature.

Mary I'm a teacher whose sons are now teenagers. I read the book and found it disturbing and knew that it was meant to be disturbing. They just thought it was the dumbest thing they'd had to read all year. One of them loves utopia/distopia novels, and he said he was bored when he wasn't laughing.

Abbie I am a student and I read this book finding it to be very entertaining. It went into deep issues, which related to every day things. This book was pretty good because it really made you think. It portrayed many important lessons, and at the end I believe that the author's main intention was to have you make up the rest. The ending tested you to think about what would happen later. I can say that this book was disturbing, though it's a metaphor for our world. And yes, our world is very disturbing, so let's fix it! That's what Lowis Lowry was trying to do. She was trying to make us realize what our world is like.

Danielle You need to read Gathering Blue.From a girl's personality in a somewhat similiar "community". In the Messenger, both books combine where Jonas from The Giver becomes the leader of Kira (from Gatherinbg Blue)'s community. Both Gathering Blue and The Messenger mostly revolve around Kira, and in my opinion are much better than The Giver. Both must-reads even if you didn't like The Giver!!!!!!

Donna I read this book because a lot of schools are banning it and many parents are not letting their children read it because it refers to suicide. I agree that a 12 year old should not read it, Maybe a little bit older because what is easy as adults to understand may not be understandable by young children.

In my opinion, I did not think much of it. I thought it was creative but a little disturbing at some points but as said before I don't think it was such a great book but I wouldn't take it out of my library.

message 12: by Meh (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meh Twelve years old is not a young child. When I was twelve, most of the boys and some of the girls I knew were cussing a blue streak and talking about sex. Why would they be bothered by a reference to suicide? It bothers me whenever adults dismiss anybody younger than them as a child and therefore more vulnerable or weak. When they're five, sure. But when they're twelve? They're growing up really fast by then.

message 13: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim While 12 isn't too young for the content, unless a teacher is directing them, many don't get the anti-utopian aspects. When I teach 1984 sophomore year, I refer back to this book (which they read in grade 7), and kids said they never got it until I explained it to them just then. Also, it's really not unique. It is a rip-off of Brave New World and other books like it. I like it, but it's not odd or unique.

Pandora In response to Danielle Jonas comes back? Then I'm totally confused by the ending of The Giver. I guess I will have to read the two sequels to figure things out. It will have to wait till the end of the Summer. All the books need to be available for the kids' Summer Reading. I'm also on a Steinbeck and Twain kick.

message 15: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Pandora,
The sequels aren't actually sequels in the true sense of the word. You won't necessarily understand the ending from reading them (certainly not from Gathering Blue).

Kelley I just finished The Giver and thought it was grand. My daughter who is 10 read it last year in 5th grade and it excited her so much she has read Gathering Blue, The Messenger and Gossamer. She is now reading a biography about Lois Lowry as a female role model. I think kids are able to handle more than we give them credit for and if parents read WITH them, it makes it an even better experience. We've had great discussions about it. I would rather have her reading this than Captain Underpants, Junie B. Jones and the other trash that people think is right for kids.

Franky I am a fan of reading distopia novels and the giver is no exception. If your new to science fiction i could see why you might be disturbed, but honestly i am surprised by anyone thinking this is extreme. I found it to be simply another take on an old idea. If you liked the giver try:

A Handmaid's tail and Oryx and Crake
Clockwork orange
Brave new world
Fahrenheit 451
The Traveler

There are too many to list.

Heather I loved this book.........until the end. I don't want to use my imagination. I want the end to be wrapped up with a bow. Nice and pretty. Tell me what happened. Tell me they found others and had a great, happy life!!!! I was very sad and angry at the end.

Leslie I didn't like it. That's fine; I do want it to be an option for students to be able to read. That being said, I find that a few teachers in my district seem to promote this book, almost as a reaction to others trying to get it banned.

Pandora I agree with Heather. My biggest problem with The Giver was trying to figure out what she meant by the ending. I like an ending that is sharp and to the point.

I also agree with Leslie just because I don't like a book is no reason to ban it. I might complain about it but, never ban. As for promoteing the book because of the desire of others to ban that is one of net effects banners never seem to get. If you want something to go away don't say anything. The second you ban anything it is going to top the charts.

Janna I agree that this book is slightly disturbing, and kind of strange, but I loved it. I think this book is easy to hate for lots of people, though, because it is so different. It reminds me of a more recently-published series, though. (The whole Uglies, Pretties, Specials Trilogy) The theme is great, but after reading it, I was a bit mystified. The ending is much too vague for my taste... I agree with Heather. The book was a joy to read, but I felt like there should be more of an explination at the ending. Prior to starting a book, I usually look at how many pages there are, just to see about how long I'll be reading it. Toward the end, I was getting confused, and disappointed, because I had knew the end would be a let-down. Great story, but since the general audience this book was aimed toward is teenagers and young adults, the author should've been more straight-forward with the conclusion of the story.

Kelley Why does everyone want to be spoon fed an ending? Where is your imagination and wonderment? Real life is much more gray and messy. And The Giver is part of a series. The ending leaves one hanging enough to want more with its cliff hangery goodness. The ending leaves it open so people can have discussions and talk about "What do YOU think it meant?" "I wonder what will happen next?" "What does it all mean?" If the ending had been too clear, then the story would be done. I wouldn't want to necessarily go pick up the next book. And I certainly wouldn't have wondered and wanted to talk with others and think about what the author implied. It's a mystery too. Let the mystery be.

Jodie I agree with Kelley about the ending. I rather enjoy trying to figure out what the author meant; reading without interpretation is pretty dull. The Giver is the sort of book that wouldn't read well with a pretty, tied-bow ending. The whole book is a little off-center, and having a nice, complete ending wouldn't fit very well.

As for the disturbing part, I think that it is partially true. The Giver dealt with themes of the future; how could that NOT be disturbing? It's interesting though to see what people characterize as disturbing. For instance, I read both "the Last Book in the Universe" and The Giver. They had opposite visions for the future: in one, the world had turned to chaos, and every person was a criminal. Pain, hunger, filth--all that was the norm. There was no trust or acceptance. But ultimately, the characters manage to forge deep, meaningful relationships. What's disturbing about the Giver is the lack of depth that everything has taken on. Everything is exactly as it appears, until, of course, Jonas finds out about what really happens to people who "leave".

It was interesting to imagine what would happen if everything really WAS peaceful, perfect, and serene. The main thing I got out of the Giver was that perhaps we need the opposite to have the concept at all; we need pain and negative emotions to understand and appreciate and experience true love and happiness. In this sense, I found the book truly moving and thought inspiring.

Jordan I read this book and everybody told me it was supossed to be really good, but after reading it I didn't like it at all. It was weird, creepy, and I didn't like it at all. That's just what i think.

Pandora It's not that I want a spoon feed ending but, I do what an ending. Debeating the ending works for Lady or the Tiger but, it left me incomplete with The Giver. I think the ending hurt The Giver. The Giver was following the hero's path as explained in The Writer's Journey. Part of the point of the hero's journey is to know if the hero makes it or not. Left in limbo of is Jonas alive or not was for me just frustrating and destoryed the experience of reading The Giver. As a result of the experience I haven't bother with the other two books.

As for setting up as a cliffhanger for the next book that is getting to be such an old trick. Nowdays everything ends as set up for the next part. Movies, television, and books. I perfer Darren Shan method. For the most part each book in his Cirque Du Freak had an end. A story cycle was also complete in every three books. I am also longing for the days when people had the guts to end something and not be worried about how to make the next dollar.

Jodie Pandora- If I understand you right, then I think I disagree with how you view the book. It wasn't so much of a hero's journey as a book that demonstrated one possible scenario for the future, in which one person is burdened with all the memories, both good and bad. To me, the plot proved to be one of the less important aspects of the book. It was more interesting to observe how Jonas responded to the new information being thrust upon him, and how he began to form his opinions about the community that was the only thing he had ever known.

The community itself seemed to have the importance of a character, in that it was such a main focus for the story. It was a story about a world where everything is perfectly equal, and there is no war--which is what so many strong leaders are trying for these days. It was an opposite take on the majority--showing what would happen if we really did get our wish in its entirety. Jonas provides an outlet for these themes, a way to express them as he feels the pain and betrayal of a family and life that he always thought was the only way.

I don't really view this book as a cliffhanger. The end of the journey isn't really the important part to me, and so I didn't feel unfulfilled by the end. It seemed like it came full circle--closing with the memory that he had wanted so much. It gave an unusually disturbing book a peaceful ending, as if no matter what happened to Jonas, we were at least convinced that somewhere there was still hope and possibility, because the memories had been retained.

Pandora Wow that a lot of food for thought. I do have a perferance for plot and more plot. Thanks, though for the last paragraph that does help in understanding the ending more. Prehaps, I will give the book another try and see what happens.

Part of my last post was not so much about the ending of The Giver but, irration that so much in pop culture never ends. I do love a good ending.

message 28: by Kira (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kira Everyone has a different idea of utopia. This book was showing that one persons utopia was another's distopia. They tried to make everything the same so everyone would be equal, no one was really allowed to be an individual, or express themselves, even in something so small as color. No-one could be higher, or lower than anyone else, everything was flat. Jobs were assigned, you were watched your whole life. A startling distopia for us, a perfect utopia for them. But then Jonas finds out about other things, and is discontent. The whole point of the Giver was to hide the fact that there was another way of life, anyway. Another story about trying to make everyone the same is Harrison Bergeron, a short story about a world where you are made the same by weights, so no-one is stronger, or buzzers, so you can't be smarter than anyone else. The point of futuristic fiction is to make us think about things we can do to stop terrible things from happening.

Debbie I really loved this book. But in order to love the book, I think you must love the genre, which is dystopia (spelled with a "y").

Also, this is not meant to be read by little children. It's for teens and preteens. They're teaching it at my children's school to 7th graders, which is just right, I think. My kids loved it, too, partly because they are tired of stories about new kids who are trying to fit in. This is a refreshing plot, and makes them think.

Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* I didn't like this book either. I had to read it in seventh grade, and I don't get the big deal. There are so many books like it out there... like 'oh no scary futuristic society where all the ppl's brains are messed up'. It gets old. I thought that The Giver was just predictable, depressing, and creepy. Also, I felt as if the entire book had a lot of buildup, and then the end made absolutely no sense. Yes I understand all the meaning in it or whatever, but I couldn't get myself to like it. I couldn't feel for the characters, and I know this sounds mean but I really didn't care what happened to them.

Lucianna It was okay, hard to get through. I don't now why they assign it to fourth graders, it's too complex for them to understand. their parents end up liking it and their children hating it.

Kelley My daughter read it in 5th grade and LOVED it. All her classmates did too. They even created an afterschool "Master Writing Project" club to discuss it and other novels and do some of their own writing. Too many people underestimate kids and feed them crap to read. They understand more than you think. Especially smart kids. She went on to read Gathering Blue and Messenger and more Lois Lowry work. I read them all too. Gathering Blue and Messenger were not as good. Somewhat more predictable. I find that people who don't like deep, intense topics probably didn't like The Giver.

Pandora Kelly please be careful there. For the record I do love very deep and intense topics. For Pete Sakes I survived Neal Shusterman's Unwind. You don't get more intense then that. I least I hope not. I did love the book but, I had to spend days trying to get it out of my head.

I am also in charge of the horror books for the children's collecton in the library. So, Robert Cromier, Darren Shan, Neal Shusterman, and William Sleator plus others I have read and enjoyed. In particular The Rag and Bone Man, The Vampire Prince, The Dark Side of Nowhere, The Last Book in the Universe, and The House of Stairs.

My problem with The Giver was I felt she held back sometimes too much. If it is going to be dark I want it to go all the way. I also felt the ending wasn't clear enough. Which others have also cited as a problem.

Of oourse it has been awhile since I read it. My opinion might change with a second read if I ever find the time.

Kimberly I think that this book made me uncomfortable with some of her writing. Jonas was a strong character, and I respect that she made him this way, but I feel that it was too intense to put into a 208 page book.

Jon-austen Linch I read it for 8 hours straight, I do feel that it was meant to disturb... but it is all around a beautiful book. It signifies that if people know their past there will be pain but an ultimate gain in the end.

message 36: by Matt (new) - rated it 2 stars

Matt Lois Lowry is a skilled writer who very deftly creates human relationships and does a good job smithing out readable prose. But 'The Giver' suffers from a problem alot of artists have when they try to write science fiction without a sci-fi background: it's setting falls apart under scrutiny. The ambiguity of the ending would probably work if in fact the setting had been drawn with a less ambigious, less contridictory hand, but without a concrete ending it just heightens how little we know or are able to learn from or about the setting. Normally, we are able to deal with ambiguities in an ending because the setting helps resolve them for us, but when we look at the setting of the community closely we find that all the questions just become painful because there are not only no answers but much of what we read is revealed as nonsensical and ill thought out.

I can't help but feel that the main reason that the book is liked is a) it's short, and b) there are no wrong answers. Since the text contridicts itself and fails to explain itself, virtually any meaning you wish to state can be supported from the text. This makes the text ideal if you are wanting to hold peoples attention without challenging them, and yet, because of the ambiguities, it still gives you something chewy to talk about.

I didn't like the story, but I didn't find the story particularly wierd, or disturbing, or much of anything. I only found it frustrating and deeply unsatisfying because there seemed like there could have been a truly good novel that could have come out of its conception, but the whole thing ended up being a still born story and released without so much as a 'bye bye'.

Emily i do like this book but not nearlly as much as my friends do. There was a lot of weird points though

Debbie A lot of people say this book is "weird" and "disturbing." I understand the disturbing part, but what things in the book do people consider "weird"?

Elizabeth This book is the best one I've read, in quite a while! Sure, it's different. But that doesn't mean I would consider it weird. It made me ponder on how important freedom is! I loved this book. My sister, who is 16, didn't like the book as much as me. Perhaps, it's written for young adults, but the adults are the ones that "get it."

message 40: by Matt (new) - rated it 2 stars

Matt "A lot of people say this book is "weird" and "disturbing." I understand the disturbing part, but what things in the book do people consider "weird"?"

I don't even know what people consider disturbing. The closest I can come to 'disturbing' in the book is that it is possible to interpret the ending as 'The Giver' was lying to Jonas, and that he deliberately devised a plan which would send Jonas to his death so that Jonas could release the memories. That would be a little disturbing, but that's a rather unorthodox interpretation (though one you can support from the text). For the most part, I thought the story rather tame and rather trite.

message 41: by Brittany (new)

Brittany I havent read this book yet, but I dont think I will like it a tone. All my friends liked it though.

Kelsey No. You're the only one. I'm kidding. But honestly, The Giver is one of my favorite books of all time. I didn't think it was any of the adjectives you used to describe it. Weird, because it's about a kind of world that we don't live in? Do you dislike fantasy/sci-fi novels? I don't even think it was that disturbing. I thought it was excellent. I'm curious as to what you found disturbing.

message 43: by Meh (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meh I think everybody who called it disturbing and weird doesn't read any current science fiction or fantasy. Most likely the disturbing part was when they killed the old people by injection. There could be others, I haven't read the book since elementary school. But even then, I just thought it was interesting. There's certainly a lot more disturbing books out there.

A l l i e In my opinion, the killing people with injections was not so disturbing. I hated this book because the writing was so bland and the odd terms. Why would there be a job called 'Birthmother'? Why would they have to call 'Stirrings' that? The bland writing made the book boring and I would also call it weird.

message 45: by Sean (new) - rated it 1 star

Sean I read this books about 3 times in middle and high school, thinking I would see the appeal of it at some point. That never happened. I never felt intrigued or sucked into the world the book was set in and I disliked Jonas and the position of The Giver.

As far as the ending went, I assumed Jonas died as that seemed more in keeping with the rest of the book and I get tired of happily ever after. I haven't and won't read the others because the world Lowry has created isn't compelling.

While this was the first one I read, I find I like dystopian novels, Brave New World and The Road being my favorite, and just think this book is a poor example of one.

message 46: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 28, 2012 08:29PM) (new)

I didn't really enjoy this novel. While the pacing was efficient and a few of the concepts were intriguing, the novel really seemed like a socially diminished version of superior dystopian novels such as A Clockwork Orange (in terms of youth demeanor) or A Brave New World (in terms of a pseudo-utopia).

message 47: by Joe (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joe I like it more now by reading that it disturbed people. Good! Wake up.

Chrissy Sawruk Mallory wrote: "Everyone recommended this book to me. Once I finally got my hands on it I thought it was weird, odd, slightly disturbing, and just didn't like it at all. This is just my opinion and I was just wond..."

I personally liked it but a lot of my classmates hated it.

Carole I really liked it, it is odd but I thought it was good.I like to read alot of different types of books.

message 50: by Jane (last edited Sep 08, 2012 09:12AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jane I read this book a while back, but I remember hating it, waiting for it to be over, and hating when someone would even mention the name. It was strange, bizarre and a complete waste of time. I would never recommend it.

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