Jonas lives in a perfect world. There is no pain, war, or fear. There is also no choice. Everyone in the community has their role assigned to them. At age twelve, when everyone learns what their job will be, Jonas receives a special assignment. He will be trained to become the next Giver. The Giver holds all the memories of pain, pleasure, war, famine--everything the community needs to know to survive. But these memories create a problem for the peace and order of the community. As Jonas learns the truth he realizes how different things really are from the world he has known, and he can never return to ignorance.
This is a great novel to introduce young readers to the dystopian genre. But that should not stop adults from reading this book if they have not done so yet. It is deceptively simple. There are the classic dystopian themes of the price of having the perfect world, the lack of choice, and the disillusionment such societies bring. There are also some interesting parts about relationships, growing up, and how memory affects us.
I like the subtlety of Lowry's writing. There are layers to this book that allow the reader to pull more from the book every time they read it. Even though I have read the book before, the story pulled me in, and I wanted to keep reading to discover what was happening with Jonas. I enjoy a book that provides a great story while giving me something to think about.
If you are a fan of young adult books or the dystopian genre I would highly recommend reading this book.
I have reread this book several times, but it is one I like returning to. I was thrilled when Alejandro chose this book for the Bookworms to read. It was Alejandro and Paige's first time reading The Giver, and I was excited to share this reading experience with them. Here are some of their thoughts on the book, there are some spoilers:
Q&A With The Bookworms Book Club
How many stars out of 5 would you give this book?
Paige 4 1/2
What did you think of the book?
Paige I liked all 320 pages of it. I thought it was a really good long book.
Alejandro I liked it.
What was your favorite part?
Alejandro When Jonas escaped going down the hill.
Paige When they family got Gabriel, because they saved his life because they were going to release him.
What does being released mean? Did it surprise you to discover what being released meant?
Alejandro It means being killed. That didn't surprise me when I read it later in the book.
Paige No. I didn't guess what it meant. I was very surprised it meant they died.
Would you like sharing your birthday with everyone born that year?
Paige NO! I don't want to share it with people. I like the day being about me.
Alejandro I would not really want to share it with all the kids.
Why do you think they had the kids share their birthday?
Alejandro Maybe so they would all be the same. They all got the same gift too.
Paige That way no one is left out.
What job would you be assigned?
Alejandro A Doctor. I want to be a Doctor.
Paige Not a Birth Mother. They don't get to keep the babies, and they have to do hard work later. Maybe a Cook. I really like to cook.
Would you want to have people always watching you like they do in Jonas' community?
Paige Sometimes would be okay, like when you do your volunteer hours to see what job you would be good at. But not all the time, and not at home.
Alejandro I think it would be annoying.
What do you think about people not making their own choices?
Paige People should make their own choices. If they choose bad, they can pay for it. I would want to be able to make choices about what to do and be able to fall in love.
Alejandro They should let people make choices even if they make bad choices. They can pay for it and choose not to do it again. The world is for whys and choices.
What do you think of the job of Giver?
Alejandro It is good because people can ask him questions if they have a problem, but it is too much pain for one person. Everyone should have a little because one person can't feel it all.
Paige I think his job takes a lot of courage. I think there is good and bad in his job.
Would you read the three books that come after The Giver? The other three books are: Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.
Alejandro Yeah, I already started reading the other books.
Paige I don't know. I think I might.
What did you think of the movie that just came out based on The Giver?
Both: I really liked it!
Alejandro They changed some stuff, but it didn't really change the story. I liked it a lot.
Paige Yeah I loved it! I got all the books after seeing it.
Would you recommend this book to people?
Both: Yes! People should read it.
Thank you Alejandro and Paige for reviewing this book with me. I look forward to the next book we read together.