The Giver, by Lois Lowry

I am so glad I decided to buy this at the last minute. I was at the usual second hand store where they have a great selection of books and I usually make my last minute decisions there. Whenever I shop at the regular book shops at the mall, I would have to research the story and read some reviews before I pay 20+ dollars. This only cost me a dollar! I do not have this version. I have Collins Modern Classics version.

My second post about a book. I’ve been meaning to put one up, but reading just takes so much longer than watching movies and tv shows. First Louis Sachar now Lois Lowry. I’m going to keep my eye open for authors starting with L.

The story opens about a boy named Jonas who can’t describe whether he is feeling afraid or something else. He goes on about being afraid of the plane and how everyone was scared and there was huge chaos (????). Then there was stuff about being released. What???? I zoned out because I had no idea what the first chapter was going on about. I read on.

What a peculiar story we have here. It’s the future. Very distant future. There is no hunger. No pain. No war. The life of the community is very structured. Have you ever watched The Island staring Edward McGregor and Scarlett Johanson? Well if you have, that’s what I mean by structured except they don’t wear white. I think.

Life in this future goes like this. There are these birth mothers that laze around for three years to produce babies. It doesn’t say but I’m pretty sure they have these babies from donated sperm than have sex. You’ll find out why as I go on. After three years of giving birth, they face the life as labourers. The child is kept in the Nurturing Centre for about a year. There is a Naming Ceremony where the first years are given to the parents. Each ‘family unit’ can only consist of a mother, a father, one boy and one girl. The thing is, they’re not really a family. The parents are not related to the children. The children are not theres, but they are in this world. It’s sort of like, everyone is adopted. The birth mothers actually are not allowed to have a family unit. They must work their butts off all their lives. People give them little respect which I find wrong. Hello? Without them you will have no children!

The parents are put together by the Elders. The Elders are the controller of the community. They are not in love. They don’t even know the true meaning of it. They do not have sex. They tell dreams, eat, work, tell their feelings, and go to sleep. In every dwelling (where they live) there are speakers so Elders can give them instructions and whatnot.

Every December there is a Ceremony for age. Except it’s not really their age. They call themselves Ones, Twos, Threes. You’re a one when you are given out to your family unit; The Naming Ceremony, the first part of the Ceremony. As you grow older in numbers (twos, fives) you are usually given a gift. You are upgraded. At Nine you get a bicycle. Only at that age should you get a bicycle. Your clothes are upgraded with special pockets to fit certain things, such as a calculator, but I forgot what age that comes in. As an Eight you must have a certain hours of volunteer work. Twelve is one of the most important part of all. After that age doesn’t matter. Twelve receive their Assignments; their careers for life. The Elders determine this by observing you and your volunteer hours. Jonas father spent most of his volunteer hours at the Nurturing Centre and was given the assignment of a Nurturer; taking care of newborn children.The Elders never got it wrong when choosing your partner and your career. One day Jonas says that he had a wet dream (didn’t actually say wet dream, just told his story) and he was given a pill for it. See how they have no affection towards one another, and can resist the urge to not make babies with each other?

Jonas is nervous about his assignment because he has no idea what he’s going to be. On the day of the Ceremony of Twelves, they skip his number! (Their full names are numbers. He is Eleven Twenty. He will become Twelve Twenty soon.) They made a mistake! At the end the Chief Elder explains that Jonas has become the Receiver of Memory, which is the greatest Assignment of all. It holds great honour and wisdom. He thinks, what is this Receiver of Memory? I don’t know Jonas. Hurry and just tell me already Lois Lowry. His assignment will change his life and thinking forever.

If you have read the book continue reading. If you don’t plan on reading the book and want to know what happens, continue reading. If you have a bad memory and you will probably forget what happens, continue reading.

Unlike other assignments, there is only one Receiver. He is the new one. The former Receiver is now called the Giver because he is giving memories to Jonas, the Receiver. These things include, riding through snow on a sleigh. Jonas had never had snow. The community has had Sameness for a long, long, long, long, long, long, long time. Really long. It’s like ancient history when there were seasons, and sleigh. Jonas also receives the memory of colour. That’s right, no one can see colour but Jonas and the Giver! I didn’t know this. He kept talking about the apple changing for an instant, that is because he saw the colour red for the first time. Why no colour? It’s so beautiful. He also receives the memory of sunlight. Yes, sunlight! There is no sun or something. I can’t imagine it. I really can’t. With sunlight the Giver gives him the memory of a sunburnt, and he feels it. When the Giver transfers the memory to Jonas, the Giver no longer has it. He gave one memory of a sailboat so he no longer has it, but he has plently of other memories about sailing in a sailboat. There is a lot of pain involed as Jonas must go through the experience of war, watching someone die in war, being injured, being seriously ill . . . it’s all so much and very hard for Jonas to take.

Near the end, Jonas learns the feeling of love. He loves this feeling. He stops taking his pills and feels a little guilty for the pleasure of his dreams. His father is a Nurturer as stated before, and he says he must release newborn children when they are unfit  for their community. This involves just the children being comfortable and being released into a new community. No worries right? So they find out that a birth mother had twins and they can’t have two identical people wandering around. It’s too confusing. So they must release one. Jonas (he’s the high and mighty Receiver and can watch anything private whenever he wants) finds out that his father has been lying to him all this time. Releasing people meant killing them! His father just killed one of the twins! It was so sad I thought I was going to cry. The saddest thing I ever had to read.

Jonas is very upset and doesn’t want to go home. The Giver says that only they have feelings. After much complaints and discussion the Giver decides to make a plan for the community to change. They can’t live in a life without love and memories.

I wont tell you how, but Jonas manages to escape. Thank God. It was the travel that was the hardest. He has some company along with him on the ride but I wont tell you who. It ends with him finding a small area beneath the snowy hill far, far away where there is love, family, and friends.

What a wonderful story. Superb! Honestly though, it took a while for me to get into. The start dragged on for so long until the ceremony finally started. The other half of the book was definitely worth it.

I hope Jonas found a nice family to take care of him and grew up into a wonderful man. I wonder what his career would be. Something to do with books? Art? Children?

Care to take a guess?

15 thoughts on “The Giver, by Lois Lowry

  1. Oh, I read this book when I was a freshman in High School! The end is frustrating, isn’t it? And Lowry has never given an answer as to what happens to Jonas after the end. Instead, Lowry looks at the end through the eyes of a reader and offers speculation.

    I’ve heard that Lowry wrote another book set in the same general time period, though it isn’t about Jonas or his community. I could be wrong, though; maybe, since you obviously enjoyed this book, you could look into the next one…

  2. There are two books that are sequels to The Giver. The second one seems to be unrelated, but the third ties everything together. If you liked The Giver you should enjoy the next two.

  3. ok…..two words:loved it. the ending made me soooo frustrated!!! yuppity yup im actually reading the second, “Gathering Blue” right now, just started it about an hour ago. it isnt as good as the first so far, but Jonas will come back in “Messenger.” I hope Gabriel and The Giver comes back too!!! I loved the giver so much, and the ending frustrated me so much that i actually typed and taped an alternate ending into my book. it made me feel better! if you wanna know my ending, send me an email at SEE YA!!! ❤

  4. Omg you can’t retell a storyyy you should really read the book over again ok u didn’t quite get all the ages for the ceremonies which should be ther i needed some help with one of the questions since im working on it as a novel study project and i got no help it only made me think about how you should have added more detail otherwise i lovedteh book not ur retell of the book.

  5. Amy: We are not here to answer YOUR homework questions. If you are SO good in writing a review, maybe you should give it a go. However, before you start, you may want to take some spelling and grammar lessons first. If the review outlined every single detail in the book, then it will defeat the whole purpose of a review. The reader might as well read the book themself.

  6. hi ever one. i liked the giver up untill the ending because it’s just kinda random that he leaves like there is no for warning or forsadowing. YOU CAN POST ANY THING ON THIS SITE!!!!!

  7. I need help. Do like any of you people know the answer to this question: How does lowry use color symbolism to deepen her description of Jonas’s world?

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