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Monday, May 07, 2007

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Today I had an unexpected afternoon off, and decided I would spend it catching up on my reading. I was closest to finishing The Giver and so I started with that. Wow. I knew from about the halfway point that this book would make an emotional impact on me, but did not expect it to be so powerful.

Here's the summary from
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 community's 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 learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price.

I read this book as part of my own Dystopian Challenge. (heh, I was putting it off cause I thought I'd chosen it for the Newbery Challenge. I'm getting my lists confused!) For the first half of the book or so, Jonas' world seems perfect, very rule driven, very orderly. The people are happy. There aren't any secrets. At his 12th December, he is assigned his career, and from then the book takes a turn. The truth of the happiness is revealed, but only to Jonas.

I can't say much more without giving away plot points, so I'm going to jump over here with a some spoiler points that I need to say outloud. If you have not read the book, and plan to, I would not read these.

This is my first finished book for the Dystopian Challenge.


  1. Hey there, thanks for the post link! Glad you enjoyed. Now I'm enjoying the discovery of your blog. And I'm going to pick up "The Giver." Sounds really great! I'm always looking for new, recommended books. So hard to guess my way through it!

  2. I have been enjoying your blog. My son read this last year and loved it. His class spent a whole year with this type of book.

  3. Hmm. Maybe I've read enough dystopian worlds now that this didn't have the impact on me that it did on most of the rest of the world.

    Maybe I'm just weird.

    Yeah, probably that.

  4. I can see that the dystopian setting could be repeated, but what made this book so intense for me was Gabe. Perhaps it's because of my own toddler (can I still call him a toddler at 25 months?)

  5. I, too, loved this book when I read it. Very powerful. I need to find time to re-read I think! Glad you enjoyed it.

  6. Just finished Gathering Blue and Messenger.

    Great trilogy!

  7. I really want to get to these, but WHEN??? I had Gathering Blue for a while, but returned it unread.


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