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The Giver (Giver, Bk 1)
The Giver - Giver, Bk 1
Author: Lois Lowry
At the age of twelve, Jonas, a young boy from a seemingly utopian, futuristic world, is singled out to receive special training from The Giver, who alone holds the memories of the true joys and pain of life.
ISBN-13: 9780440219071
ISBN-10: 0440219078
Publication Date: 9/1/1994
Pages: 180
Reading Level: Young Adult
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.

4.3 stars, based on 572 ratings
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Book Type: Paperback
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Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Giver (Giver, Bk 1) on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
The plot of this book has been described, well and often, in the editorial and customer reviews already posted, and I will not repeat that.
The Giver earned five stars from me on two points: technical quality and content. Technically, this book is very well-written, with a fast pace, no lulls, three-dimensional characters, a well-described setting, and no plot contradictions.

It is the story content that really elevates this book to five-star quality, however. Diversity and conformity are issues that surround us, in the news, in our neighborhoods, in our schools, in government and politics, and in the courts. "The Giver" puts the debate under a microscope, and it leaves room for no simplistic answers. It portrays an artificial society where diversity has just about been abolished. It depicts the benefits of that society, the shortcomings of it, and the internal conflicts caused in the mind of the protagonist. "The Giver" gives no answers, but gifts us with a wonderful way to look at an important question. This is a great book for a classroom project, or for a parent to read with his/her child. There are discussion questions listed at the end, that can be used as a launching pad for an intellectual exploration of the issues portrayed.

A non-spoiler spoiler: The end is intentionally ambiguous. While I have decided, for myself, what the ending means, each reader must make his/her own decision on what happened at the end.
reviewed The Giver (Giver, Bk 1) on + 1540 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This book is supposedly for young adults, but, frankly, is so scary I'm not sure I'd recommend a teen-ager read it. It has won a half dozen major literary awards, and clearly deserves them; is probably going to become a classic distopia like 1984 or BRAVE NEW WORLD.
-----From back cover:-----
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 Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth.
There is no turning back.
reviewed The Giver (Giver, Bk 1) on + 87 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book will make you think like few others will. Unsettling and riveting. You will never forget this book once you read it.
reviewed The Giver (Giver, Bk 1) on + 54 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Wonderful story, very interesting concept. Not sure yet how I felt about the end.
reviewed The Giver (Giver, Bk 1) on + 59 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Very interesting story once it gets started. Very quick read.
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reviewed The Giver (Giver, Bk 1) on + 4 more book reviews
Perhaps I'm biased, because I just read 1984 not too long ago, but this book does remind me of 1984. I wouldn't be surprised if the author got inspired by 1984, either consciously or subconsciously. But again, she might have come up with it on her own. That this and 1984 belong in the same dystopian framework is fairly apparent: the orderly society, the all-imposing bureaucracy that dictates what you do and controls how you should behave, the lack of real emotion including love, hate, anger, longing, ... (Now, if you're a Buddist follower, you'd think that the lack of those emotions is not necessarily a bad thing, but that's a totally different topic).

What is more unique about this book (and make it a good read) is the calmness and nonchalance with which society seems to carry on. Unlike 1984, here there's no outwardly sinister characters or scheme. Society appear to have been designed for everyone's own good. Thus the malevolence (if one can call is that) is very subtle, almost like the breeze (that no longer exist in a climate-control society). Gradually one comes to really how chilling life really is behind the gentle and caring facade, and I give the author kudos for being able to do that in a relatively short book.

My reservations about the book is the lack of logical coherence. For example the setting: it's set in a futuristic society, but they're just a small part of the land? Their climate is controlled, the outside is not, but there's no apparent boundary? What do people do outside, why can't they just come over and visit (and cause upheaval in this society)? This advanced society has so many technological means, and yet they can't find a boy carrying a baby on bicycle? For months? And the two of them can survive months on the road, in the open, with nothing to eat and no tool to find food? I felt like in the rush to make a "cool" ending, the author kind of rushed a bit and didn't quite think through what would make sense. Granted, I know the plot is more important than the details, but I'd still prefer it to make sense than just force things on us and ask us to accept.

Btw I've also watched the movie version. Unlike other book-to-movie projects, for this I like the movie a great deal. They've managed to adapt very well, while also attempted to address some of the book's incoherence I talked about. In an effort to make the movie more exciting and less subtle, they've made the society and the Chief Leader a lot more sinister than in the book. It's all good though, it makes for a pretty compelling movie, while many of the original themes in the book are still retained. If you've read, I'd recommend the movie too.
reviewed The Giver (Giver, Bk 1) on + 9 more book reviews
This is such a beautiful story -- very simple, yet very deep and thought-provoking. I was challenged and entertained, and I will keep this book as part of my permanent library!
reviewed The Giver (Giver, Bk 1) on + 19 more book reviews
This book was suggested by my older son's teacher. I like the writer's writting style. Great book!