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The Giver | [Lois Lowry]

The Giver

December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve-year-old receives a life assignment determined by the Elders. Jonas watches his friend Fiona named Caretaker of the Old and his cheerful pal Asher labeled the Assistant Director of Recreation. But Jonas has been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man, the man called only the Giver, he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile perfection of his world.
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Publisher's Summary

December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve-year-old receives a life assignment determined by the Elders. Jonas watches his friend Fiona named Caretaker of the Old and his cheerful pal Asher labeled the Assistant Director of Recreation. But Jonas has been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man, the man called only the Giver, he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile perfection of his world.

Told with deceptive simplicity, this is the provocative story of a boy who experiences something incredible and undertakes something impossible. In the telling it questions every value we have taken for granted and reexamines our most deeply held beliefs.

©1993 Lois Lowry; (P)1993 Random House, Inc., Listening Library, An Imprint Of Random House Audio Publishing Group

What the Critics Say

  • Newbery Medal Winner, 1994

"A powerful and provocative novel." (The New York Times)
"Lowry is once again in top form...unwinding a tale fit for the most adventurous readers." (Publishers Weekly)
"The author makes real abstract concepts, such as the meaning of a life in which there are virtually no choices to be made and no experiences with deep feelings. This tightly plotted story and its believable characters will stay with readers for a long time." (School Library Journal)
"This is a compelling prospect for family listening...[Ron] Rifkin's juxtaposition of the young boy and the old Giver has tremendous effect." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (2538 )
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4.1 (1776 )
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Performance
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  •  
    far_to_go 07-18-13
    far_to_go 07-18-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Annoying music"
    Would you listen to The Giver again? Why?

    I'm not planning to listen to this again. I've read the book before and like the story very much, but it was interrupted by strange music at inopportune moments. A great book, but not a very good listening experience.


    27 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nikki Ogden, UT, USA 07-09-12
    Nikki Ogden, UT, USA 07-09-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "This guy's mouth makes some serious noises..."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would recommend they read the actual book and skip the audio version. The story is okay, but the quality of the audiobook is not.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Rosemary. She was very brave and noble and I like the mystery behind her past.


    What didn’t you like about Ron Rifkin’s performance?

    Many of the sentences trailed off rather than ending strong and clear. He also made noises with his mouth. I assume this happens often with actors, but that stuff is usually edited out.


    Could you see The Giver being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    I guess I could see it. I am not invested enough to guess the cast though.


    Any additional comments?

    The background music was HORRIBLE! They blasted you out with tacky synth music for EVERY SINGLE significant moment! It took me out of the moment because I was rolling my eyes.

    39 of 41 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alison essex jct, VT, United States 09-08-12
    Alison essex jct, VT, United States 09-08-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Story but..."

    I had read this book as a teenager. I thought I would enjoy it on audio. However, the narration is poor. The whiny voice of Jonas was totally grating and the the narrator did not even bother to read with the inflection when the tone of voice was described with adjectives. Even more annoying, possibly, was the music. I don't even know how I got through this one...if it weren't for my nostalgia, I wouldn't have.

    33 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deanna Lake Dallas, TX 01-20-13
    Deanna Lake Dallas, TX 01-20-13 Member Since 2009

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "High Hopes Left Me Disappointed"

    I had really high hopes for this book. I am a big fan of YA Dystopian novels, and I'd heard this book was really one of the important ones in the genre.

    I felt like the beginning of this book was really good, I liked where it was going, it had an interesting setting...but about 3/4 through it felt like the author gave up and just wanted it to end. It left way too many loose ends, and just sort of ended.

    I wasn't a huge fan of the narrator, but he did not bother me.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea Squamish, British Columbia, Canada 03-25-04
    Andrea Squamish, British Columbia, Canada 03-25-04
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    "Listen as a family"

    The Giver is a great introduction to utopian novels. It was very interesting listening to the book with my 10 and 11 year olds. Their innocence saw the ending in a completly different way then I did. We had some wonderful family discussions about what a perfect world is or should be. As a family we highly recommend this book for its entertainment value and the discussions it will prompt.

    27 of 32 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alires Highlands Ranch, CO, USA 01-03-04
    Alires Highlands Ranch, CO, USA 01-03-04 Member Since 2003
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    "Going to extremes"

    This is a great book about going to extremes on many different levels. Like Ender's game and Snow Crash, the youth of today have much to teach us about how to live. This book is simply written with observations about society and the implications of our choices and desires for a perfection. Any age will love this book. My 5th grade little sister recommeded this to me, and I have completed graduate school. I have recommeded this book to my friends of all ages.

    29 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maria Adkins 08-23-08 Member Since 2005
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    "Thought-provoking"

    Although this is a young adult book, I think it will appeal to any age group and it has lots of layers of thought-provoking debate entwined in a simple story. This reminded me of Orwell's "1984" as it takes place in the future in a watchful society. It is a strange society in which diversity and individualism are not tolerated and everyone lives according to their function in society - perhaps happy - but blissfully unaware of pain and love. You follow the story of Jonas who is a remarkable 11 year-old boy who carries much weight and insight of the community on his shoulders. I definitely recommend this book as it left me haunted and yearning to discuss it with someone else.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie 02-14-13
    Stephanie 02-14-13
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    "Awesome story, suspenseful, lots to think about!"

    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.

    Spoiler alert:

    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.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Austin, TX, USA 03-22-09
    Scott Austin, TX, USA 03-22-09 Member Since 2006
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    "Wonderful theme, hard to swallow resolution"

    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.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hector Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA 06-16-07
    Hector Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA 06-16-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Best Book I Ever Read"

    Nobel Prize winner "The Giver", was like that book they make you read in high school that you dread to actually read. It was my english class read. I flipped through it and did my homework trying to skip as much as could and still pass the class; but towards the end of the class I got hooked into it. There are ideas, questions, and answers in this book that just fascinated me as a teenager. Things I sorta flew by trying to do my homework that made me think everytime.

    Now, I am a pretty intuitive, highly artistic mind, and once I discovered the real heart behind "The Giver" I swear it was like a door opened to me. I loved every second of it. I remember finishing a chapter and walking around school looking at the other students, teachers, and their responsibilites in a total different light. It was almost as if I was part of a society much like the one in this book where we all wait to know what we are supposed to do, and if you don't keep up you're "released" ... But as the book suggests, and I found out as I grew, being released from the machine might not be all that terrible in the end.

    I alarmingly recommend this amazing read for kids and adults alike. I have wondered for ages why are there film versions of "Spiderman", "Jerry Springer", and "The Devil Wears Prada" and not one of this book... Makes one wonder where priorities and film industry goals lie. Anyhow! Listen to this! Will make feel free!

    16 of 21 people found this review helpful
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