My fifth grader and I both loved this story. I couldn't wait until bedtime to listen--we listened in the car on errands, while cooking and folding laundry. Many times we paused it to talk about what we thought would happen next. There is so much to think about and talk about.
Essentially, the story is about a dystopian community in the Earth's future. The lives of the people in the community are strictly controlled in every aspect. This makes everyone equal to each other, makes life stress-free, and gives all an important role. The story is told from the point of view of an eleven-year-old boy. When he turns twelve he is given the role of "receiver", or keeper of the community's memories. He gradually realizes what the community has given up in order to create such an ordered, peaceful, and equal society. It becomes too much to bear, and he has to take individual action.
I love this book. From it, we can better understand why it is so important that we know and remember even the simplest things in life.
Characters: Jonas, the main character, is wonderfully developed. His mother was probably the least interesting. Good cast overall.
Scene: Lowry creates a seemingly normal scene that gets more intriguing and more central to the story as the story unfolds. As the story continues, the scene becomes anything but normal.
Plot: A bit unsteady throughout the first half of the book, the plot strengthens in the second half. Still, the plots climax and ultimate resolution are just a little too ideal. For a book that goes to such great lengths to expose such an important lesson, I wanted to see the incarnation and resolution of that lesson be much, much more.
Theme: The theme single-handedly carries this book. The lesson to be learned from Lowry is the basis of this story's renown, and I am sure this book will be used for this lesson many more times to come.
Overall: The weakness of the plot is carries by every other aspect of this book. Unless you need books with incredibly strong plots, I'd highly recommend this book.
Say something about yourself!
I seem to have gotten this book by mistake. That is, I never would have ordered it if I had known what it is about. So, what is it about? Seemingly the author does not want us to know. However our main character is selected in future world as a "receiver." He proceeds to be trained by an old "receiver" who apparently knows everything, presumably about pain and choice. Both of these are now gone from society. I must say, this selection was mostly a waste of my time.
I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
The Giver hints at some of the themes explored by Brave New World and 1984, but unlike either of those iconic works, The Giver doesn't seem to have a clear thesis.
The mechanics of the dystopia are never explained... how did it come to be? What is the point of keeper of memories? What is the goal of the society? What's outside of it?
The Giver ends on an ambiguous, surrealistic note, and for the first time the prose turn poetic. These are not complements. Instead of an ending that fits the style and theme of the story, Lois Lowry made a cowardly, lazy exit from the plot.
The best thing I can say about this book is that it was short.
I had higher expectations. Perhaps too high. I hated the ending. Just seemed too simplistic, too predictable. I ended it feeling cheated a bit.
I liked this a great deal. It's a book I will definitely listen to again so that I can gather in more stunning detail. I have also purchased the "read it" version for the experience of ... well ... actually reading it.
The book explores coming-of-age themes in an entirely new way, such that it's actually somewhat hard to convey. Jonas is 11, almost twelve, and lives in a "perfect" utopian community where everyone is always content and safe and healthy and does their part and fulfills their roles in perfect harmony and peace.
The children all have their perfect places to fill in their perfect families and eventually come to their 12th year when the community comes together to celebrate the assignment of each child's role in the community. They are each assigned their professions on this special day and it's an exciting time for everyone. And in a very rare event, Jonah is given the assignment of "Receiver of Memories." As he begins his training, he meets the now very old man who, as the current memory keeper, now becomes "The Giver" who begins to give Jonah memories that the community doesn't want to know and doesn't want to share, but doesn't want to lose.
So, as Jonah begins to understand the true cost of a "perfect" life he is faced with some terrible decisions.
I am haunted by this book.
I'm a big audible fan.
The music kills me. It randomly comes in for a few minutes then goes away. It's it's loud and distracting. It would be a 5 out of 5 if it didn't have the music.
The story is a great beginning to the series. I read it 20 years ago and loved it then and love it now. The audiobook, though, leaves a lot to be desired.
Someone who would have personified Jonas with a less annoying and whiny personality. This isn't Jonas!
What's up with the crazy music in this audiobook? Instead of enhancing the production, it was distracting and annoying.
I liked Ron Rifkin as The Giver but not as Jonas, a little too whiny at times with his voice.
The book was amazing at bringing you along for the ride, the most sad part was Jonas seeing what the 'release' was. Really good character development and would recommend to anyone. As with others, the cheesy music was really bad and sometimes made it tough to hear the story.