Review: The Giver

The Giver
The Giver by Lois Lowry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Giver is one of those rare books that my students, both AP and regular, were always shocked to learn I hadn’t read. Well, it wasn’t published when I was in the targeted age range, so I missed it. Until now.

The story is in the vein of many dystopian futuristic novels, where mankind has traded freedom for safety and lives under the yoke of oppressive and cruel rules regarding behavior. So, if you like 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, or other novels like that, you’ll probably enjoy The Giver.

I would be very interested in an explanation for some of the things that had become sort of natural laws in the story. For instance, Jonas’s community never experienced rain, snow, hills, valleys, color, or music. How do you make the rain stop? We know by the way the story ends they aren’t living under a dome or anything like that. How do you make people stop seeing colors?

Despite this, the story is nicely written and well paced. Jonas is absolutely likable and the reader really feels his anguish in the later chapters, particularly when he learns the truth about his father.

On a completely personal note, this book was given to me by one of my favorite students who knew I hadn’t read it. It is one of her favorites and it came to me with a note telling me how she’d read it three more times in the days following the recent loss of her father. She said she found comfort in the story. After reading it, I think I can see why. Thank you for your gift.

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