Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

The Giver by Lois Lowry

March 21st, 2011 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Borrowed the audio book from the library

Publication date: January 24, 2006

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of dystopians and have heard many people talk about The Giver so when I saw the audio book at the library I quickly snatched it up.  It takes place in a future society in which “sameness” is a way of life. Apparently the people do not perceive colors, do not choose their own jobs, spouses or are even allowed to have their own children.  Jonas, the main character, knows no other life and sees nothing wrong with their way of life until he turns twelve and finds out he has been selected to be the community’s next receiver.  He finds that the receiver is the one who holds the memories of hundreds of years of experiences like feeling sunshine, experiencing warfare or simply riding a sled down a snowy hill.  These are all things that the community could never imagine.  As he begins to receive these memories he also begins to experience feelings like love and realizes that their perfect world may not be so ideal after all.

I was enthralled with this story and the world Lowry built.  It is hard to imagine living in a world where your spouse is chosen from you, your job is chosen for you and if you want a child you have to apply for one and then one is selected for you.  Each family unit is only allowed one girl child and one boy child.   As we hear more about the community’s way of life and see it through Jonas’s awakening eyes I slowly became horrified.  In order to preserve this life of peace babies who are fussy are “released”or in other worlds killed, if a child happens to be born a twin one of them is killed so there isn’t the chaos of having two identical people walking around and once you get old you are carted off to a special home for the elderly and you never see your family again.  I seriously wanted to cry when I listened to the fates of these unwanted children and elderly who were no longer useful.  The worst part was seeing Jonas’s parents behave like this was nothing unusual or horrifying.

The conclusion to the story is rather open ended and it had me wondering about what really happened. I want to go pick up a paper copy of this book so I can re-read the ending again because I really hope it doesn’t infer what I think happens in the ending.  This book would make a wonderful discussion book and I highly recommend it for anyone who loves dystopia.  The audio version was pretty good.  I liked the narrator’s voice and the way he portrayed each character.

Posted in 5 Star Books, Books, childrens, Dystopia, Young Adult

5 Responses

  1. Bibliotropic

    This is one of my favourite books, and has been so ever since I read it in the 6th grade! I recently discovered that it has two companion novels to go with it, which I’m really excited to read!

  2. Delphyne

    I keep hearing great things about this one. I love dystopian books, too, and I haven’t had the pleasure of reading this one yet.

  3. RAnn

    The sequels make it more clear what happened; however I think I read somewhere that Lowery initially intended this to be a stand-alone; the sequels came later

  4. Linda Franklin

    This has been a favorite of mine since it was originally published in 1993. Regarding the ambiguity of the ending, I found back in the mid-’90s that children seemed to interpret the ending differently depending on how old they were. When I worked with fourth- and fifth-graders, they perceived a happy ending; by the time children were more like 13 years old, they saw it as unhappy.

  5. Katie

    I liked this book quite a bit. Not super impressed with the two others though.

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