Book Review: The Giver, by Lois Lowry

giver_coverLois Lowry does a great job of completely engaging the reader in this story.  The meaning of the “precision of language,” the odd recalled memories, and the speaker telling everyone what to do is quite odd at the beginning of the story.  Jonas, an eleven year old boy, is living in a futuristic town and is feeling… apprehensive, as he would call it… for the Ceremony of Twelve.  For each year as the people in his Community grow up one year, there is a ceremony where something happens to them.  At eight years old, you get a jacket with pockets signifying maturity to hold onto your own things.  At nine, you get a bicycle with your name on it.  (Bicycles are the only transportation within the Community.)  At Twelve, you get assigned your job; that is what Jonas is apprehensive about.

The ceremony goes more quickly than he thought and when each twelve year old boy or girl is assigned his or her role, the community elders skip over him.  Only at the end they announce his assignment.  He is assigned something very special… to work with The Giver.  Jonas learns that not only will he have his lifetime job to be with The Giver and replace his job, but also experience the pain of the memories transmitted to him.  Two big themes I found important in this story were love and conformity, which always remind me of the song “All you need is Love” by the Beatles.  This conveys the message being told in the story—all you really need is love and a bond between you and someone else.

When I finished this book, I was not completely satisfied, but very moved.  I felt that this is not how our future should look.  The conflict between Jonas’s knowledge and the transmitted memories was very interesting.  I would recommend this book to any middle and high schoolers who have some time on their hands to really get the gist of the book.  Have fun!

Maya S., 6th grade

6th Grade

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Giver, by Lois Lowry

  1. I read this book a while ago and have reread it numerous times since.
    Regarding your comment about your lack of satisfaction upon the book’s resolution, I just have to say this:
    I do not feel that books hold an obligation to leave readers in a state of unadulterated happiness upon their end, nor do I hope for them to satisfy me to a certain extent (or even at all). Instead, I feel that they must teach me; I feel that books that don’t teach their readers something are not doing their unspoken job. It is not the words on the pages that are fantastically important, it is the effect they have once amalgamated to form one unified whole. It is what we, as readers, are able to take away from what is written that is principal. Edmund Wilson, an American writer, once said, “No two persons ever read the same book.” He was speaking figuratively, of course, addressing the concept that the worth of a book of fiction is not in its contents, but by what we can learn; what we can take away from it and utilize in reality.

  2. Loved your review! I agree, the ending wasn’t entirely satisfactory, but it definitely taught me about the wrongs of dystopias. I read it in seventh grade and I remember how much the ending confused and disappointed me. Over time, I realized that some authors don’t explicitly state the conclusion- you’re left to interpret it yourself. I like that style, because it allows the freedom of imagining your ideal ending. Another book with a similar style is The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. Throughout the whole book, you never know the reason for why the events in the book occur. You’re left to figure it out. Nonetheless, I loved your review! Made me remember how amazing The Giver is.

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