Book Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry

Synopsis (from Amazon.com): When Jonas turns 12, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver—who alone holds memories of pain and pleasure in life. Now there can be no turning back from the truth.

Age: 11

Inappropriate content: None.

What I thought (positive elements): Jonas lives in a world with essentially no choices or free thoughts. There is no color, no beauty, no pain, no anger, no joy. Spouses, children, and jobs are chosen for each individual by a committee. This is all Jonas knows–until he becomes a Twelve and is chosen to be the next Receiver of Memory. His trainer, the Giver, holds all the memories of the world. This is, in the eyes of everyone in the community, a good system. It exempts everyone from feeling pain, but it also keeps them from joy and love. I agree with Jonas: “Memories are meant to be shared.” This book shows a Utopia, but it also proves that a Utopian society is truly impossible without brainwashing its citizens.

What I thought (negative elements): I have no complaints about the writing style or content of this novel. Younger children may be startled when Jonas discovers that ***SPOILER ALERT*** unwanted citizens are executed. ***SPOILER ALERT***

Sequels: This forms a loose quartet with Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.

Rating: 4.5/5

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Filed under Ages 10-12, Ages 13-15, Ages 15+, Books I Loved, Dystopian

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