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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

Critic Reviews

  • 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 Ratings


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  • Story

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.

49 of 55 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Nikki
  • Salt Lake City, UT, USA
  • 07-09-12

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.

82 of 93 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

A blast from the past

I read this book when I was in elementary school and I got the audiobook to listen to with my niece. I loved this book when I was little and I was hoping that she would to.

In retrospect, I wish I had just given her the book because I felt the narration lacked something. I remember being very moved by the book and I didn't get that feeling from this. It might have been a combination of the Rifkin's narration and the weird musical interludes.

The Giver is best left to hard copy if you truly want to savor this classic story.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Ethan
  • ROCHESTER, NY, United States
  • 05-03-13

Great story but the music is very distracting!

Any additional comments?

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Alison
  • essex jct, VT, United States
  • 09-08-12

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.

57 of 66 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Luanne
  • Central Florida
  • 04-20-13

Skip the audiobook and read the print version!

Is there anything you would change about this book?

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.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Ron Rifkin?

Someone who would have personified Jonas with a less annoying and whiny personality. This isn't Jonas!

Any additional comments?

What's up with the crazy music in this audiobook? Instead of enhancing the production, it was distracting and annoying.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Donna
  • Thornton, CO, United States
  • 12-27-12

Excellent story that unfolds before your eyes

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

I liked Ron Rifkin as The Giver but not as Jonas, a little too whiny at times with his voice.

Any additional comments?

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Andrea
  • Squamish, British Columbia, Canada
  • 03-25-04

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.

38 of 48 people found this review helpful

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A book that I could read unlimited times

Come and check the review at my blog! Inkish Kingdoms!

I have to say that I love this book, and all the deep interpretation that we can give it to it. Not only to what the author explains but to what she implies without saying any explicit words.

What make us individuals? Or why is individualism a threat to the government and to mind control? In a world where birthdays do not exist, where you cannot make your own decisions, where you are watched and controlled for the sake of stability and utopia. Is this living? is this life? To protect everybody from all the struggles of life will never work out. They protect the people from making mistakes. They don't have the option to choose, everything is giving and ...

The narration, the story, the author, the symbolism, the critic, the political discourse, all on this book is perfect!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Alires
  • Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
  • 01-03-04

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.

39 of 50 people found this review helpful