Is it possible to create a perfect society - one where everyone is well-fed and healthy and carefree? How would you do it? Are people only entitled to live in the society if they actively contribute? What do you do with those who are not capable of contributing? Do you have to sacrifice individual freedom for the greater good?
Well, this story is set in a perfect world, but it is only perfect for the inhabitants because they are subdued to the point where they do not question the decisions which are taken for them by their elders. Children live in family units but not with their natural parents. At the age of twelve they are assigned to learn their adult duties. The only object in life is to conform. But in return for this the people never experience hunger or pain. You may think they do not experience real life at all since there is no emotion.
But there are some ugly truths propping up this particular community. Who takes the really difficult decisions which are outside the limited experience of the ordinary inhabitants? Jonas, aged twelve, and teetering on the brink of trainee adulthood is selected to become the new Receiver of Memory.
How on earth do you bear the burden of memory of the whole of human experience? The agonies of war and disease and loss, the heights of human achievement, freedom, music, colour, and the overwhelming power of love. Jonas must keep these memories on behalf of his community, but he may not share them with anyone because no-one wants to experience the whole range of human emotion. It is too painful. See how Jonas copes.
This is an excellent book and will give you plenty to think about. I was rather confused with the ending and would have been happier with a different one, but it is, of course, the writer's privilege to choose. But why does he suddenly come across the sled and the hill at the very end? It doesn't really seem to matter too much if the storyline has weaknesses though because the strength of the book is in the ideas and the community which the writer has created.
Read it and see what you think.
Tamara, girl, age 15, from Amman, Jordan, on 17th February 2009. Rating: 10/10
This book is one of the best i read...this book for me was like a warning if we don't change the bad stuff like criticism and differentiation we might start trying to solve the problems but making bigger ones without knowing that so i think it can prevent us from big problems that we are causing now
Miriam/Giggles, girl, age 13, from kernersville, United States, on 12th December 2008. Rating: 10/10
What I can assure all of you is that THE GIVER is a very good book. When I finished reading this book I was totally speechless, I was just shocked I guess, but the thing is that this is one of the books that I won't forget probably ever. When I first started reading this book I didn't understand any thing about the book, and I thought it was going to be really boring. But to my surprise it started getting very interesting after awhile and I wouldn’t let the book go. One of the things that I liked the most about this book was that it lets us know how lucky we are to live in the kind of world that we live in. Once I read that the old people are sent to the house of the old I thought that I wouldn't be able to live without my grandparents. Also in my opinion I don't think it is right to tell people that they can only have to kids in the family a boy and a girl because I want to have 5 kids not only 2 and I think every family should have kids of there own. I don't understand why they didn’t want LOVE to be around in that community but I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't be able to live without love. I think that the world is better with different kinds of people I wouldn’t like to be told that I have to be like everybody else( I like to be very unique). When I read that releasing people meant killing them I didn't feel like reading the book anymore because it is not right to kill a twin just because there would be confusion as to which one was who or what ever, but did they ever think about how much pain the birth mother had to feel to have that baby no I don't think so people need to start having some sense once in awhile. To be honest I think Jonas was very lucky to become the receiver because he got to know many things that would be better for the community. I didn't really understand the ending of the book until I re-read it I was happy that Jonas and Gabriel didn't die on there way elsewhere, I'm happy that Jonas got to see Christmas lights, he got to hear music, he got to see families together, he got to see the reality of what a community should actually look like. I love this book it is probably one of the best books i have ever read. I thank you Lois Lowery for writing this book because after I finished this book I started appreciating for the good life that I got to live. Hope you write more books as good as this one. I recommend people to read this book it is the best. GOOD LUCK.
Jordyn, girl, age 12, from United States, on 17th July 2007. Rating: 1/10
i read this book a little while ago and i hated it. i couldn't get deep into it & didn't know if it was suppposed to be in a real world or not. i know it's suposed to have a good ending but it sounded so depressing to me reading it, and when they kille dthe baby that was to mall, i said forget it this is a dystopia world and i didn't want to read anuy more.
If you want to buy The Giver by Lois Lowry and help readingmatters, please use these links
If you think you might be interested in another book set in a distant future, have a look at this one by Nina Bawden:
Or this rather horrible one by Rachel Anderson - it all depends what you think the future holds for us!:
Here's one by Peter Dickinson set in a world where things have gone wrong:
Or you might enjoy this one by William Nicholson: