The Giver
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When Jonas turns 12, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver--who alone holds memories of pain and pleasure in life. Now there can be no turning back from the truth. Paperback.

In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community's Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1994 Newbery Medal winner, Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price.

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Customer Reviews:

  • a must-read - for adults too!
    This is one of the best books I've ever read. It's just as capable of inspiring adult readers as yound adults. I've been buying copies of this for my younger family members. I've read many, many books as an English teacher and a lover of books, and this one is one of the best. Read it. You won't regret it....more info
  • Fine Children's Book
    I bought this book for a child because it was recommended by another child. I read it before sending it and found the vocabulary to be at about an 8th grade level. This is a good book for a child who's of above-average reading ability in grammar school, especially because the topic lends itself to more than one level of meaning; consequently, the child could re-read it in a couple of years and find a different level of connection with the story. I think that children would identify with the plot, i.e. the hero child, and the values the book teaches are of the "Dr.Seuss" variety. I plan on sending it to other children when they're old enough....more info
  • A remarkable idea reminding us that memory is useful
    This story made me think of the old movie "green sun". It should make everyone react at his/her level without any age distinction but mostly teenagers. No robot in the futurist story, just human conditioned and controlled (by who?) at the extreme. It is wonderfully explained how one ends up not questioning the system and how he/she can escape it. The end is splendid except for a "prop" which appears from nowhere. This excepted, the book is beautiful. I strongly recommend it to everyone over 13. I warranty parents they won't hear "I'm bored" or "I have nothing to do" the time of this book reading and may be thinking of :). For grown ups, it is a fabulous and clear reply to Finkenkraut's "Vain memory".
    Claude...more info
  • #1
    As soon as I picked up this book I was captivated by it. The people are all so ignorant ... the old saying ignorance is bliss Is best put here. Although there are some parts of the book that made me cry, don't ask me why but when I found out who got released I kind of knew it by the way he talked about her. Overall A great read and a captivating one at that....more info
  • This is A Great Book
    The Giver is one of those stories that keeps you involved from start to finish. You spend much of the book trying to figure out where you are, only to discover that the utopia does not exist. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a great book to read!...more info
  • A Must Read
    At 12 years old, kids in the community, a "perfect" society free from pain, suffering, emotion, color, etc., are given their assignments to train for the jobs they will have for the rest of their lives. Jonas gets a special "honor" rather than an assignment. He is to be trained to hold all the memories from all time for the community and he soon learns just what the community members have had to sacrifice to live this "perfect" life.

    I can see this book staying with me for a long time. It was not only an excellent story, but it gives you a lot of things to think about. I think Lois Lowry did a great job writing this book in a way that the target age group can understand the issues brought about. I would have liked to know a little more at the end, but it was a great read nonetheless....more info
  • Excellent Book
    "The Giver" is a must-read book for both tweens and adults. Lois Lowry delivers a powerful message in a compelling story, which is written in a lively and lovely manner. My 12-year-old son loved it as much as I did. Ms. Lowry has made a note-worthy contribution to modern day literature. Read it! Have your kids read it! ...more info
  • WOW.
    If the ultimate goal of book club is to develop deep comprehension and critical thinking skills, then this book is the perfect tool. There is so much for students to pour over in search for meaning. It is unsettling at several different levels, and I would expect a fairly mature book club to find their way into conversation without much prodding from the teacher.

    I would not start book club rookies out on this for their first book. I think the group would need to be fairly comfortable with each other and have a high level of trust and acceptance - students (and even teachers!) would need to feel confident to try out ideas without judgement and be able to sort out their thoughts in an open, caring atmosphere.

    In my experience, many book club books often have very superficial themes that students grasp and extract connections from. I don't think such books propel them to higher levels of thought and understanding. I often hear something like, "This book is about a brother and sister fighting, and I sometimes fight with my sister too." There just isn't anything for them to take their ideas a step futher. When the book clearly presents thought-provoking themes that students grab onto and want to discuss, it is a wonderful thing. Book clubs are for books that MUST be discussed and CANNOT be read and understood (quite as fully) by yourself. This is exactly the type of book that is made for book club....more info
  • A Warning Against Soft Fascism
    This book is, at least in part, a cautionary tale, in the tradition of Brave New World and 1984, about the danger of allowing ourselves and our government to continue slouching toward paternalistic statism. The difference between it and those older and better known stories of dystopic societies is that this one is written for kids.

    I found the book to be well written, well paced, and of a length that won't scare off tweens and teens. The development of Jonah was quite well done within the constraints of such a short book (171 pages in the paperback edition I read); he was likable and sufficiently flawed so as to be believable. As for the other characters (excepting The Giver), their lack of development is one of the points.

    The Giver does a fine job of giving the reader food for thought and discussion about the inverse relationship between individual liberty and the imposition of outcomes by governments and communities. It's not a one-sided account on that score, however. I often found myself being seduced by the security, safety, and civility that accompanied the depicted totalitarian society. As is typical of good fiction that tells some significant truth, that balance allows the reader to come to a conclusion through seeking and thinking as opposed to having it thrust down his throat; that makes the The Giver's case against soft fascism a strong one.

    I do find it a delicious irony that the education establishment, a great friend to the statist movement, has embraced this book.

    Some have complained that the book contains some logical inconsistencies. I thought those were minor and they didn't significantly detract from my enjoyment of the book.

    There are some mature themes that some parents won't be comfortable with their kids reading about. These include infanticide and senicide, capital punishment for crimes far short of murder and rape, and some fairly oblique sexual themes....more info
  • The Giver- For students and teachers!
    The Giver
    Author: Lois Lowry.
    Publisher: Laurel Leaf
    Reprinted: September 10, 2002

    Fry Readability: mid to late 9th grade.
    Number of pages: 192
    Genre: Utopian fiction

    This novel chronicles the workings of a utopian society. This community centers around duty, responsibility, correctness of speech, and courtesy to others. At the age of 11, each child must take his or her place as adults within the community. On the day of the Ceremony of 11, Jonas gets assigned the mysterious and highly respected position as The Receiver of memories. His training centers around receiving the unremembered memories of the world. Joy, pain, love, depression, and loss pass to Jonas through The Giver of memories. These new experiences give Jonas a new range of emotions and appreciation for life. At the same time, it begins to distance him from his family unit and isolates him from the rest of the community. He realizes the atrocities the community commits on a day to day basis to preserve sameness and to prevent the community from feeling. He begins to plan, with the help of The Giver, to release the memories to his community and allow them to look at life in all its rich colors, its devastating pain, and its overwhelming joy.

    Negative aspects of book:
    This book has a couple of disturbing moments centering around "being released" or the euthanization of those who cannot conform to sameness (the elderly, the sick, twins). My students found these parts difficult to read and even more difficult to understand. However, it did make for an interesting conversation about what a utopian society would be like and where conformity can lead a society. While I don't believe there are negative aspects of this book, these touchy areas should be approached with sensitivity and caution. At the same time, the issues that Lowry raises within real societies is unmistakably important for students to study and consider. We used some of the more disturbing areas in the book as a spring board for some incredible discussion. We even re-examined our own society in light of Lowry's critique.

    My personal appraisal of book:
    This book was interesting to me as a junior high student and even more interesting to me as a teacher of junior high students. It is a classic that holds readers and thinkers to a high standard. Parts of it may be hard to read for students with a lower reading level without teacher support (sentence structure and vocabulary might prove an obstacle to understanding). However, the story itself interested each student more and more the deeper we dug into the story. It is thought provoking while its characters are endearing, and its community is intriguing. It shows that without being taught, there is kindness, courage, love, and choices in a colorless, unvarying world.
    ...more info
  • excellent quality&customer service
    Excellent quality. books were jus like new! also excellent customer service. was able to contact this provider and receive timely response to my inquiry....more info
  • A keeper and a keeper and a keeper...etc.
    I say this book is a keeper, but I just keep giving it away. This is a great story that begs to be shared and discussed at length. I won't go into details about the plot, the characters, etc..because it's all been done before. My two cents is to say that this book is a gem because it encourages children to think. The Giver shines as an example of reader participation. You do not complacently read this book it forces you take a view, to figure it out, and to come to a conclusion.
    That's why its a great story and one your teen should be encouraged to read....more info
  • Experience the highest highs and the lowest lows - or be mired in mediocrity
    Eleven-year-old Jonas is a typical boy living in a futuristic world of mediocrity. Even the geography, (completely flat) and the color scheme (only black and white) are bland. The elder of two children (all that is allowed per family unit), he attends school and enjoys the company of friends like any other kid. But in his town, everyone's behavior is closely monitored, Big Brother-like, with physical punishment meted out for infractions of its many rules. The community gains 50 babies per year and at prescribed ages, persons are given certain freedoms and/or responsibilities (for example, bicycles are given to nine year olds). Once a family's children move away, former parents (babies seem to be born in vitro) move out of their homes and in with others in the same situation until their eventual move to the nursing home and, finally, "release."

    Jonas's life changes drastically when he is given his life job assignment, the most respected of the lot, Receiver (of memories). During his training, he gains the freedom of being allowed to ask any question of any person, but is unable to share his newfound knowledge with family and friends. He sees and feels the formerly unimaginable, love, hate, joy and sorrow, and, for the first time, experiences color. He also learns the truth about the procedure known as "release." Author Lois Lowry has created a simply written, amazing book with a memorable plot and engaging characters in this story about social conformity. Of the Newberry Award winners I've read, The Giver is my favorite. Similar science fiction: Feed by M.T. Anderson, The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, and Fearless by Tim Lott....more info
  • Unsettling, but a definite must-read
    I read this book the first time as an adult (late 20's). I remember it was a popular summer reading book back when I was in school. Everyone I know who has read it said it was good, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

    From the very first chapter, it had a spooky, ominous feel to it. It was a bit confusing during the first chapter, because it's set in a different world, and even a futuristic setting. The author quickly explains everything you need to know to understand this new world, but it doesn't make it any less strange. It reminded me a lot of "1984" to give you an idea.

    The last 10 chapters or so I was not able to pull myself away. It was a good read, don't get me wrong, but it was more of a morbid fascination that kept me glued to it. I could not believe what I was reading. It's horrifying not only to reading about the kind of world that was presented in the book, but to see aspects of it in the real world. It leaves you thinking (just as "1984" did): "Wow, this could actually happen someday if we continued down this path".

    It left me feeling very unsettled after I finished reading the book, and that feeling continued with me until the next day. People I've talked to that read it in high school told me that the book always stays with you like that. Not to mention, I finished it right before going to sleep that night, so I was left with some pretty odd dreams and an overall restless night.

    When I first finished, I disliked the ending, but after sitting with it on my mind for awhile, I have a better understanding of why she chose to end it that way.

    I remember this book being on my 5th grade reading list, but I feel some of the themes are a bit mature for someone that young. I'd say it was better for 15 and older. It just contained too many mature situations, death of a baby, for one. And the author was pretty descriptive.

    It was a book that I equally loved and hated. I loved the writing style, and the overall idea. It was a quick read, with no slow points to speak of. Her descriptions were amazing - very detailed. As the reader, you could really picture what she was describing. The characters that needed to be 3-D were, and there were some that needed to be less developed, and it went along with the premise of the story. I also hated the world she created because it scared me so much and it was just horrible.

    I recommend that everyone should read this book. It serves as a warning of what may become ("sameness",etc) if we continue on the same path. Don't let the "young adult" label stop you from reading it, it's a must-read for adults too....more info
  • Book was amazing.... Kindle rendition was flawed. DO NOT BUY!
    I loved this book, until the last page. It was black and unreadable. How horrible is it to get a book you love and not know how it ends? ...more info
  • bought it for my child, ended up being for me...
    I did buy this to read to my daughter but I couldn't wait to finish it and had to finish it before I could read the rest of it out-loud for my daughter....(also, she was too young for it-she was only 6). I will read it to her for the first time soon (she's almost 9)....anyway....the story is amazing, intensely thought provoking like 'brave new world' and '1984'.
    Read it first, then to your child if she's 9 and up. Children can be strongly affected by the mature themes and the conversation & questions that follow...
    a wonderful book, highly recommended......more info
  • The dedication says it all
    The Giver This is an amazing book. I first read it in high school as part of an AP English course, oddly enough, but when I became a teacher myself, I used it every year with my students. Kids really empathize with the main character and the message is ever so important. It's a quick read....more info
  • The Giver
    The Giver
    Lowery, Lois
    Published by Laurel Leaf (2002)
    Reading Level: 6.5
    192 Pages
    Youth Science Fiction

    In this captivating story, a young boy named Jonas struggles to come to terms with his own specialness, his community's secrets, and the full range of human experience. Jonas lives in a community where everything is carefully planned and carefully controlled. There is no suffering or discomfort, but likewise no joy and little individuality. Children are assigned to families, mates are chosen by a committee of elders, and the weather is always comfortable. The people's lives proceed in a course prescribed by the community's elders, marked by routine, ritual and procedure. With the passage of one such ritual, The Ceremony of Twelve, the youth of the community are assigned to a profession. As his friends begin preparing for their new adult roles in the community, Jonas embarks on an altogether different journey.
    Jonas has always known himself to be a bit different from his peers, and at his Ceremony of Twelve, he is chosen as the Receiver of Memories. As such, he is charged with holding all of the human memories passed from previous generations, so that the others in the community might be shielded from them. And so- bit by bit- Jonas begins to receive these memories from the pervious Receiver, an old man now know as the Giver. With these memories comes a whole range of emotions, good and bad, and wisdom well beyond his years. Armed with these insights, and the access granted to him as the Receiver, Jonas begins to see his community in a whole new way.
    This book is a wonderful read for young people or adults. It dramatically addresses the issues with which adolescents are already familiar: feeling deeply, leaving childhood behind, and questioning the rules of their upbringing. It challenges the mind to consider issues of conformity and rebellion, and the infinite pros and cons of the human condition. The reader must wrestle with the questions like "is the absence of unpleasantness really happiness?", "is getting rid of sadness and pain worth it if it means giving up things like love and creativity?", and "how far will people go to preserve harmony and avoid unpleasantness?". These questions challenge and extend young minds, but may be a bit complex for young readers. Additionally, the mood and subject matter of the book are quite dark at times, and may be upsetting to some. Overall, however, this is an intellectually and emotionally engaging book that I found hard to put down! ...more info
  • anyone who doesnt give this book a 5 is crazy
    This is still the best book out there, even though it came out over 10 years ago! this book clearly tells a story, with characters youll remember years after you finish, about how you will never really have a perfect community. because of the excelent plot, and lois lowrys writing style, i imagine this book will still be read to my childrens children!...more info
  • good book buy it!
    this book is weird compared to our daily lives, but what strang is that this might happen to us the way our economys hedding. ...more info
  • A Beautiful Book
    The first time I read this book I was 10 years old, sitting in a library in my elementary school. I can honestly say, this book has the same impact on me today, as it did thirteen years ago. This beautifully written dark narrative on a Utopian society only becomes more relevant with time. It lacks the seriousness of "Brave New World" but somehow manages to be taken more seriously. Perhaps because the future described, could easily happen with today's technology. You will love it if you are 10 or 50, highly recommended. ...more info
  • Tedious
    Laborious. As writers voices go, this one is droning the minutes of the Petty Bureaucrats' Town Planning Meeting. There are plenty of other dystopias to read, executed rather better. Pace, characterization, vivid description, originality are all notably absent from this book. ...more info
  • revisited
    i read this book for the first time when i was 7th or 8th grade, for school and found myself thinking about it later and reading it again as a college student, for fun. it is a wonderful book...more info
  • Awesome Book
    This was always one of my favorite books growing up. When I thought about it the other day, i knew I had to buy it. I found it very easy and loved it like it was the first time I had read it....more info
  • A Synthesis: The Giver and Number the Stars
    This review will be an attempt at a synthesis of sorts of The Giver (Newbery Medal Book) and Number the Stars. Both of these books have been extensively reviewed and their respective stories have been discussed ad nauseam, so I will forgo the usual "this book is about" review. Instead, I will attempt to provide some perspectives about these books that aren't prevalent in other reviews.

    As other reviewers have stated, The Giver is a superior book. I read The Giver the first time when I was in sixth grade and have read it two or three times in the 13 or so years since then. Some reviewers have likened this book to an adolescent literary critique of Communism or some such thing. I think this is a superficial understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of The Giver. Though Lowry's critique in this book is broad enough to include Communism, I think it goes beyond that and is really a critique of the modernity. By modernity I mean the human impulse to subject reality and creation to human design in an attempt to create the perfect society. Though Communism is a part of this impulse, this impulse is broad enough to include other modern phenomena, including National Socialism (the topic of Number the Stars, not coincidentally), parts of the Progressive Movement (especially prohibition, see Prohibition in Kansas: A History), and yes, even contemporary liberal and "neo-conservative" ideology (i.e., the Great Welfare Society and Free Trade Is The Answer parties of contemporary politics). For a philosophical description of this impulse, see Modernity Without Restraint: The Political Religions, The New Science of Politics, and Science, Politics, and Gnosticism (Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, Volume 5). In The Giver it is clear that Lowry is a critic of such impulses if only because they lead to the degradation of human dignity and the rise of the totalitarian state.

    It is this critique in the foreground of The Giver that makes the book such a classic. If you enjoyed The Giver when you were a teenager you will most likely also enjoy Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. In addition to this philosophical critique, The Giver also displays the height of Lowry's imaginative potential. I think on these two fronts The Giver is clearly superior to Number the Stars.

    Number the Stars is a fine book, to be sure, and there are some obvious similarities between it and The Giver. Many of Lowry's critiques of her imagined totalitarian regime in The Giver are applied with equal force to the Nazis. Nevertheless, I feel that Number the Stars is not as strong as The Giver, and I am surprised that it was also awarded the Newbery Medal. One thing Lowry does well in both books is to take heavy topics, such as euthanasia in The Giver and the Nazis in Number the Stars, and write about them in such a way that allows young adolescents to at the same time understand the gravity of the thing and and yet not be overburdened by the weight. Teaching young people about such topics as the Nazis and the Holocaust is not an easy thing to do, and in Number the Stars Lowry does a wonderful job.

    Still, Number the Stars lacks the imagination that Lowry displayed in The Giver. Some reviewers have stated that the book was a "slow" read. I disagree with this critique, and instead feel that such a view is more illustrative of the lack of attention span in this society than it is a valid concern for a short book like this one. I think Lowry struck the appropriate balance between displaying the exciting and frightening circumstances of the times while also giving the narrative character the opportunity to reflect upon what was going on in a way that teaches young people "the ways of the world."

    In sum, The Giver is a masterpiece, Number the Stars is a fine book. I would recommend them both, but if you're only going to read one it should be The Giver....more info
  • Leonardo Triplit

    Jonas is an 11 year old boy living in a different society that has eliminated emotions. When Jonas turns 12 he is assigned a job like everyone else. He is the receiver of the memories which means he gets to be trained by the Giver. The Giver holds all the great and bad about life like emotions, rides, and color . In Jonas world people get released, People who break laws or does not fit in with the society get released. When Jonas gets to experience these they make his life richer. Jonas is also start a bond with a baby named Gabe. When Gabe will be released. Jonas and Gabe runs into a place with color and landscape but also Hunger and Sleepiness

    The Giver is a great book to read and certainly one of my favorites. for all who loves science fiction Lowery was very clever when writing this novel and showed many ways why this book is going to be glued to your hand. Although this book was hard to understand in the beginning, I kept reading. This book showed love, fate, challenge and more. I loved this book and I think so will you. It is so fun to read about how a perfect life doesn't end up being perfect.

    ...more info
  • The Giver: by a 6th Grader
    This book, The Giver, is a book about a so called "utopia". This book follows a boy names Jonas and his life. Once he is chosen to be the new reciever, he starts to get a clue why his world is the way it is. But The Giver and Jonas soon comprimise a plan that will go against everything that his community is for. Jonas recieves shocking news the night before he goes through with the plan and things taske a turn for the worst.

    Come take a ride with Jonas and see how utopias are. Lois Lowrey is showing a utopia in this book. But if you notice, it is actually showing how utopias are impossible because humans are all interested in different things and all like different things. This book is called: The Giver. ...more info
  • Kindle Version Not Flawed
    Enough people have written reviews about the book itself, so I will not repeat their opinions except to say that it was fabulous!!! I just ordered the second book in the trilogy too.

    My motivation for writing a review is that another reviewer commented that the Kindle version is flawed with a black page for the last page. I downloaded the book tonight and the current version seems to be fine. The last page is very dark and almost unreadable - but it is the back cover of the book, not the last page of the text. So fear not and order the Kindle version if that's what was holding you back!...more info
  • A Captivating Read! "Give" it a chance!
    The Giver
    Lowery, Lois
    Published by Laurel Leaf (2002)
    Reading Level: 6.5
    192 Pages
    Youth Science Fiction

    I remember reading The Giver for the first time as an emerging adolescent. For the first time I can remember, a novel challenged me to do more than just imagine. This powerful novel (to the my delight) forced me to consider and evaluate the circumstances and situations the author describes. Lois Lowry weaves together a provocative narrative that challenges our assumptions about the desirability of a utopian world, and explores the dark underside that so often accompanies flawed human attempts at manufacturing perfection. The story is less about Jonas, a 12-year old boy who is designated to become the receiver of memories, than it is about the twisted modern utopia he inhabits.

    The story is set in a world without extremes. There is no pain, no suffering, and no poverty, but at the same time, no joy, no meaning, and no love. The cost of ridding the world of its ills is sacrificing many of its greatest virtues. By introducing the reader into the sterile world Jonas is born into, and accompanying him as he breaks through personal and societal barriers, Lowry invites her audience to consider controversial issues about freedom of choice, the nature of authentic experiences, the conditions of righteous rebellion, the intrinsic value of human life, and the price of a painless existence.

    Jonas's experience reminds us of the simple joys we tend to take for granted in our world, full of endless variation, possibility, challenge, and choice. In the (literally) black and white world that Jonas inhabits, experiencing everything from the fundamental concepts of color and hunger to simple pleasures and pains like sledding and sunburns leaves Jonas profoundly changed. The way Jonas grows and matures through learning about his environment reminds the reader of how important it is to seek out new knowledge to better understand our world and ourselves.

    Despite the striking differences between the modern world and the society Jonas is born into, many of the decisions that Jonas grapples with upon discovering the true nature of his utopian existence are similar to those every teenager and adult must make as he or she matures to gain wisdom, and with it, responsibility. It is almost painful to watch Jonas, at a mere 12 years of age, carry the enormous burden of remembering (and experiencing) the imperfections and wonders of the past alone. Jonas's journey, beginning with his passage into adulthood with the Ceremony of Twelve, and culminating with his decision to flee the only world he has ever known (to what end, we will never know...), reveals the incredible range of emotions we all know well as the human experience.
    ...more info
  • terrible book
    this book was so boring that it made me want to sleep forever. I had to read this for sixth grade and it is very weird. The story is about a boy named Jonas, who lives in this world which has no color, choices or freedom. It also doesn't have poverty, stealing or robbers. When you are twelve, you are given a job that you must do. Jonas gets the most important and painful job. I don't want to spoil the ending but i advise you to never read this book...more info