REVIEW: The Giver by Lois Lowry

REVIEW: The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Publication date: January 24, 2006

This haunting story centers on Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he’s given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. –Goodreads

the giverAnother book that is a go-to as a recommendation for my students is The Giver. This classic dystopian story is rich in vivid descriptions and mystery. Lois Lowry keeps you turning pages not by non-stop action, but by feeding you little bits and pieces of information, which leaves you guessing and devouring. You want to know more about this community and Jonas. You want to know the meanings of some of the vocabulary she throws at you. That’s the magic of Lowry’s writing. I give this book FIVE STARS!

One of the reasons I am drawn to this book is the way the writing makes you reflect on your own self and community. I’ve read dystopians before, Hunger Games and Divergent, and they have similarities to The Giver because there is a “group” of people who “created” these communities with a goal to make peace in their world-the wanted to create a utopian society. However, these books are remarkably different because you don’t easily see the “good” that these creators had in mind for the creation of their “utopia” society. (or at least I didnt!) You see violence and inequality. It’s easy to feel anger towards these people and the unjust society. The Giver, on the other hand, allows you to see ways in which this society is organized in order to keep out chaos and inequality. You can really see where they are coming from, having these strange rituals and rules to keep the utopian feel. But, this does not make you any less aware at how these rituals and beliefs make the characters less human, and turns this utopia into a dystopia.

I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll stop with a few words of wisdom I learned from Lois Lowry and The Giver:

  1. It is our differences that make us who we are.
  2. Pain and suffering is not always bad, it is necessary to help us grow.
  3. Learning our history, our past, where we came from, is absolutely necessary to shape our future.

Here are some of my favorite quotes as well:

  • “How could someone not fit in? The community was so meticulously ordered, the choices so carefully made.”
  • “It’s the choosing that’s important, isn’t it?”
  • “Memories need to be shared.”

My Recommendation: This book is perfect for a short read that will leave you questioning everything. Readers who love mystery and dystopian literature will love Lois Lowry’s The Giver.

My questions for you:

What did you learn from reading The Giver?

What lessons have you learned from other books?

What did you “notice” (signposts)?

How important do you feel learning history is to the success of our future?

I am a middle school English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher.

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