Book Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry

Author:  Lois Lowry
Pages: 208
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Release date: May 11, 1999
Age Group: YA
Genre:  Dystopian
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

Available: Amazon / B&N 

Summary from Goodreads:

Lois Lowry’s The Giver is the quintessential dystopian novel, followed by its remarkable companions, Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.
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 pan and please of life.  Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth.  There is no turning back.

I was first introduced to The Giver when I was in 7th grade. This book opened a new world for me. It was one of the first books that I didn't just enjoy, but made me realize that there is a whole other world available to us when we open a book. The Giver does just that.  It makes you understand what life would be like if the world was devoid of choices, color, and imagination. I recently found out that The Giver really belongs to a quartet, a series of four books, and decided I needed to reread it before l continued with the series. 

I will start by saying that the cover is quite intriguing.  I didn't completely understand the message it was portraying until well into the book. The book is being told by Jonas, a 12 year old boy who is living, in what is often described as utopia, a peaceful world in which there is no pain, anguish, fear, or decisions. A world in which everything you may physically need is provided for and you are placed in a job that fits your strengths. When you turn 12 you are assigned a job, which you will then train for, in order to fulfill. Many twelve year olds wonder what will become of them.  Whether they will be caregivers, doctors, work in the nursery, etc.  Jonas has no idea what he may become, and is stunned when he finds out because he doesn't understand. Jonas is given the job of Receiver.  A job he won't come to understand the importance and depth of until close to the end. A troubling and very difficult job, but a necessary position in the community. As the story progresses, you learn more about his responsibility as well as the community and what makes it work.

This is truly a book that every student and adult should read.  If you have a child read it with them, because you could have conversations of a magnitude unimaginable.  It is so interesting that Lowry was able to put so much depth and unanswered questions into a book that ties together so perfectly at the same time. She made what seemed like a perfect world, a world empty of hate, war, and negative things... but what did we have to lose in order to achieve such a world? Guess you'll have to read to find out, I promise you won't regret it. 


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