Book Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry

23 May 2011

There are few books that are just pure genius. You know what I mean when I say that--they take the truth, and then retell it in a wholly original way that makes you understand it so much better. And the characters, the plot, everything about the book is believable, natural, and draws you in. C.S. Lewis' books are a fantastic example of this, as are Jane Austen's. 

Ladies and gentlemen, this is also one of those genius books.

The Giver
By Lois Lowry
*Summary taken from the back of the book

Jonas' world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community.

When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now it's time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

Lois Lowry is a pretty incredible author. Even though she is writing about a fictitious world in The Giver, she manages to draw the reader in and make him/her feel as if they are not just reading about this world: they are IN it. The minute I began reading this book, I was intrigued. I read it in sixth grade for school, but I finished it at least a week ahead of time, because I was so enthralled with it.

When you first read about the Community in The Giver, it doesn't seem that bad. After all, everything is orderly and neat, and the little problems are quickly resolved. However, as we read further, we discover the disastrous consequences of such a lifestyle. There is no love, and virtually no emotion of any kind. The Elders control everything, and the people have no authority. Everything is decided for them, even down to their spouse and their children. 

The sad thing is, this type of society not so foreign as we would wish. Of course, we cannot remove memory from everyone and put it all in one person, who then transfers the memories to the next Receiver, but the ideals behind this are the same. The people in this story live in a utopian Community. Many of our leaders today believe that this type of lifestyle is good for everyone. Think about it: no pain, no hardship, no tough decisions. Everything is "handled" for you. But that means no life, no love. In The Giver, the old people are purposely killed because they can no longer benefit the Community. The same is done with weak or disabled children. We see this happening all over the world today, as young mothers choose to abort their babies simply because having a child at this time in their life is not part of their "plan." 

No one can put down The Giver without being moved in some way. This book is unforgettable.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
I recommend this book for ages 13+ because of some mature content.


"Our people made that choice, the choice to go to Sameness. Before my time, before the previous time, back and back and back. We relinquished color when we relinquished sunshine and did away with difference. We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others." —The Giver, chapter 12

6 epistles:

  1. Thanks for the review! I enjoyed reading it, and I'll definitely be sure to get myself a copy of this book. I love good allegories!

  2. Oh, I do like the idea of pros and cons, but I also like your style... hmmm... maybe you could incorporate a little bit of both?

  3. This books sounds like it would terrify me!! (And no, I'm not trying to be funny!)

    I like the length of your book reviews. I also like the more "narrative" style you give them. : )


  4. @Edith F. -- This story rather terrified me, too, but it was an excellent, thought-provoking read nonetheless, and I'm very glad I read it. I hope you won't be frightened away from reading it. Also, keep in mind that it sounds a whole lot scarier than it really is. :)

    Thank you for commenting!

    Elizabeth Rose

  5. I love that book to death. I wish it was longer!

  6. You have a nice review! Here's mine if you don't mind:

    Thanks and have a nice day! =)


"Gracious words are like a honeycomb; sweetness to the soul and health to the body." —Proverbs 16:24

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