Book Reviews

The Giver by Lois Lowry

the giver - CopyEdition: Paperback, Movie Tie-In Edition, 240 pages
Genre: Dystopian
Published July 1st 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published April 26th 1993)
Rating: ★★★★

“I have great honor,” The Giver said. “So will you. But you will find that is not the same as power.”

Life in the community where Jonas lives is idyllic. Designated birth mothers produce new children, who are assigned to appropriate family units: one male, one female, to each. Citizens are assigned their partners and their jobs. No one thinks to ask questions. Everyone obeys. The community is a world without conflict, inequality, divorce, unemployment injustice…or choice.

Everyone is the same.

Except Jonas.

At the Ceremony of Twelve, the community’s twelve-year-olds eagerly accept their predetermined Life Assignments. But Jonas is chosen for something special. He begins instruction in his life’s work with a mysterious old man known only as The Giver. Gradually Jonas learns that power lies in feelings. But when his own power is put to the test—when he must try to save someone he loves—he may not be ready. Is it too soon? Or too late?


“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”

*Some spoilers ahead! Proceed with caution. 😜*

So this book focuses on the main character Jonas who was 11 years old awaiting the ceremony of twelve. At this ceremony “the Elders” would be assigning you to a job that you will have for the rest of your life. At that day Jonas was given the responsibility of being the new “Receiver of Memory.” Basically the Receiver carries all the memories of the past that involves both pain and pleasure.

As Jonas’ continues with his training he started to realize the truth and reality of what life really is. He started to realize that even though they are protected from harm giving up the memories they had also hindered them from experiencing the wonderful aspects of life.

After The Giver shows Jonas the tape of his Father “releasing” a new-born child he ultimately loses his trust and admiration for his father. He then realized that this was not the life he wanted. He wanted change and to experience everything he can. So he left the community with Gabriel (the baby that they were going to “release” cause he wasn’t developing in time) to search for “Elsewhere.”

To be honest I never had the intention to read this book AT ALL. It was not the kind of book I would normally read. But at that time a lot of people from booktube was hauling it and finally, curiosity got to me, I went out and bought it and see what it’s all about. I heard its better to go into this book without knowing anything so that’s what I did. Didn’t read the synopsis whatsoever and just started reading one day and see what it offered.

At first I was a bit confused and pissed. Who would ever think “sameness” is good for anyone? I mean we were made different for a reason, right?! Then I realized that this was a dystopian book so whatever “the Elders” says, goes.

The society they live in is very… controlling if I say so myself. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, your partner, kids, job, LIFE, is planned out for you. You have no privacy whatsoever and the people there accepts it cause they think it’s whats best for them.

I understand that the life they lived must be comforting. Never experiencing pain, war, suffering and hunger but at the same time you’ll never know what happiness really is. You’ll never be able to experience excitement and LOVE. You’ll never see colors or hear music. I don’t know bout you but that sounds pretty boring to me.

Even though pain and me don’t get along I wouldn’t want it to be gone, cause sometimes experiencing hardships and pain builds you to be the person you are. We sometimes think that responsibility and making choices in life is a bit tiring but striping that away from us wouldn’t make anything easier. We’ll just end up like puppets that can’t do anything but say yes to everything. Imagine never having the choice to say no to something you don’t like. It would be a nightmare for me.

I think Jonas making the decision of leaving the community has the most impact to me as a reader. This just showed how much he matured as a character. How he wanted to be a person he’ll be proud of. He started out as the scared boy who never disobeys his parents to someone willing to risk his future to achieve what he wanted.

I guess the main teaching here is that it’s better to live your life the way you would like and experience everything than be held by others and never truly be happy.

I am not really in favor of endings that are unclear but surprisingly I like how this ended. It gives off the idea that, whether Jonas and Gabriel freeze to death or they found “Elsewhere”, the fact that he made the choice and took the risk made up for it.

I guess Lowry was also giving us the freedom of choice.

The choice to end the story the way we want to.

I would definitely recommend this to all dystopian fans out there. It might be slow and boring at first but it was truly a great book.

Oh and before I forget, while reading this try to put yourself in their shoes. Try to experience everything along with the characters. I’m sure that by the end of the book you’ll be happy to say that “I am different.. and I have the freedom to choose my life.”

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6 thoughts on “The Giver by Lois Lowry

  1. Great review. I also loved how Jonas grew and thought the ending was fitting. I read this in college and everyone said how they thought it had really ended for Jonas and Gabriel and it was such an interesting discussion. You learn a lot from people by asking them to elaborate on ambiguous endings! I happen to think just like you, that it doesn’t really matter what happened, what matters is that Jonas went away for their freedom.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this book so much, I give it 1000 stars, no regrets! We might see this as a dystopia, but I think it’s the closest to a utopia that I can think of in a book. You can’t miss what you’ve never experienced, so the loss of color and music would mean nothing to them, and how much less stressful would life be to have your job perfectly matched by the people who watched you grow up? It’s basically Benjamin Franklin’s quote about sacrificing freedom for security played out.

    If you’re interested in reading more from this world, Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son follow in that order. But fair warning, Gathering Blue has no connection to The Giver until Messenger. Son was written much later (2012 to Messenger’s 2004) but I actually really enjoyed it, and like it second best after Giver.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was planning to read the rest of this quartet after I finished The Giver but then a ton of books have been added to my tbr and I guess it was pushed back. But I am still planning to read the rest.. sooner than later I hope. 😓


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