The Giver by Lois Lowry | Review

Posted June 3, 2011 by Asheley in review / 6 Comments

The Giver by Lois Lowry | ReviewThe Giver by Lois Lowry
Series: The Giver Quartet #1
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on April 26, 1993
Source: Library
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Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community.

1994 Newbery Medal winner. Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community.


Eleven-year-old Jonas lives in a “perfect” society: there is no war, no poverty, no hunger, no sickness. Everyone has equality and there is Sameness. Everyone is given a job when they turn twelve, and Jonas is quickly approaching this important age. Jonas is selected by the Community to be the very honorable “Receiver of Memories,” in which he spends time with The Giver and learns all of the memories of things past. The Giver is the only one who knows the truth of what went on before Sameness, and now it is time for Jonas to begin the process of taking those memories from him.

I read The Giver by Lois Lowry as my first book of the 2011 Award Winning Reads Challenge and also as part of the 2011 Dystopia Challenge, both of which I am a part. First of all, you say the word “dystopia” and I am interested…I can’t get enough. Secondly, this book is the 1994 Newbery Award winner, which made it my absolute without-a-doubt first choice for the Award Winning Reads Challenge.

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a really long time. I have no idea why I waited so long! I inhaled it. It is absolutely incredible. Ms. Lowry did an amazing job creating a society that is free of worry, free of pain, free of anything troublesome. Everything is, well, just lovely. At least I thought it was, because Jonas thought it was….

…until I realized something HUGE about the way Jonas sees things. I mean, about the way he *literally* sees things with his eyes! Wow! Jonas only realizes that he and the rest of the people in his community are being completely deceived in their perception of things when he spends time with The Giver and receives some memories that are very confusing to him.

As Jonas begins to take on the memories of the truth of the past before Sameness, he realizes that along with things like warfare, poverty, pain, hunger, there was also the warmth of sunshine, the beauty of color, the chill of snow, and the delight of rain. He realizes that he has a choice: to let the rest of the community continue to live as they are…without knowing any of the good and the bad of the past and also without the ability to choose anything for themselves, or he can make them aware of all that they are missing. What they don’t know can’t hurt them, right?

Jonas and The Giver make a plan to carry out their decision…and then their plan A turns to a plan B…and things get a bit crazy and chaotic. My heart was thumping almost out of my chest! Even though Gathering Blue and Messenger and Son (Lowry’s sequel books) are not part of the challenges, I will absolutely read them in the not too distant future…

I would love it if everyone I knew read this book right now. It was that good! I will recommend it to everybody. I can’t believe it has been in existence for so long and I am just now getting to it. But thank goodness I did! I finished it several days ago and cannot stop thinking about it.


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


6 responses to “The Giver by Lois Lowry | Review

  1. So glad you loved this one! It's pretty awesome! 🙂 I need to reread this one sometime soon!

    If you love dystopian, I strongly recommend The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. It's both a Printz and Newbery Honor, and is so incredibly fascinating. Really teaches you about what it means to be human…

  2. I am pretty sure I have a copy of this from the kids. I know they had to read it in school. I will dig it out after reading your thoughts on it. It sounds like it would be a very good read. I enjoyed reading your review. I can tell this is a book you truly enjoyed.

  3. This is one of my all-time favorite books. I had to read it for class in middle school and I was so blown away by it, I've probably read it at least ten more times. Thanks for sharing your awesome review!

  4. I loved this book so much in middle school. It was one of my all-time favorite "school requirements." That and THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND and ANNA TO THE INFINITE POWER and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Not all in the same year, obvs!

    I've been really wanting to re-read this and GATHERING BLUE and THE MESSENGER; I'll have to do so sooner because of your awesome review! You have me all pumped up again!

    I just bought BLOOD RED ROAD by Moira Young. Have you read that yet? That or DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth will be the next dystopian I read. I'm doing the challenge, too. Go us!! I'll follow you and root for you! 🙂

  5. These three books will challenge you, after reading The Giver the first time I was overwhelmed and it haunted me for a long time. I went back and have reread it many many times. All three books raise questions about community, love, friendship, and care for other people. They also show dark paths that we as a people can go down, and how it can devastate all around us when we make the wrong choices for the wrong reasons.

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