The Giver by Lois Lowry
Easy Reader And Very Enjoyable Book
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
communitys 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 learn s
just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly
decides he cannot pay the price.
I should probably premise this review by saying that I first read this
amazing novel in the 7th grade (age 13). I say this because of the many 1-
star reviews warning parents of the dangers of children reading this book.
I have to agree with this on some levels, but probably not on the level as
most of the reviewers. More on this later.
The Giver is a very complex and enthralling novel about what life would be
like if our society strived to exist as a perfect utopia-like community.
Jonas, along with all his friends, have their careers chosen for them, the
less intelligent children being forced into laborers or birthmothers. Jonas is
decided by the elders to be a very special child, and is sent to study with
an old man who can transfer memories of a distant life to him. Jonas must
now carry the burden of these memories alone.
The overall tone of the novel I found to be quite sorrowful. From The
Givers own loss to the societys way of dealing with overpopulation, I found
myself tearing up on occasion. The idea that no one, except perhaps for
Jonas and the Giver, can experience love is just beyond horrible.
However, there were many parts of the novel I found to be uplifting and
just plain fun to read, such as the interaction between Jonas and his sister,
Bringing in my original statements about children reading this, I do feel that
the novels true meaning might be a little out of reach for younger children.
That would be my one reservation when recommending it. HOW EVER, I
dont think denying this book to children simply because of the violent
sections (it was what, one paragraph?) is doing anyone any good. If a
child has the intellectual capacity to understand the books point, let them
read it. I read it at the young age of 13 and have read it many, many times
since. While I found the goings-on of the society quite shocking, I did not
have nightmares and to be quite honest, I found myself remembering other
parts of the book more than the parts that seem to be so controversial on
My point is, this book is a classic. Every now and then, I find myself
picking it up and reading it in the span of a few hours. Each and every
time, I gain a new perspective on the characters and story. Its one that
should not be missed.
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