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There is only one warning for this book and it’s only mildly suggestive rather than explicit. There is a mention of a boy in his thoughts wanting a girl to remove her clothes but it’s actually more in regards to love & desire than sexual content.
Before The Hunger Games, before Divergent, there was The Giver.
Maybe it’s because this book is from my era of the ‘90’s but to me, The Giver is just heads above what YA fiction is today.
I feel like Lois Lowry paved the way for those kind of “dystopian” type books with this classic. Maybe there were some before (I’d love to find out if you know of any!) but this one will always be a little special to me.
I remember reading this in school and really liking it. Nothing has changed! Except maybe now as an adult, I can feel so much more deeply for the lead character Jonas and his display of exceptional bravery.
I’ve actually seen the movie as well, I remember being really excited since it had been about 15 years since I’d read this. I thought the movie was okay but you didn’t really understand everything that was going on if you hadn’t read the book. You also miss the wonderful insight into mainly Jonas’ thoughts and what he experiences with the Giver. The descriptions are so much better. So if you’re wanting to know about book vs. movie, definitely book on this one!
One of my favorite lines that you definitely don’t get watching the movie:
But there was a little shudder of nervousness when he thought about it, about what might happen.
Apprehensive, Jonas decided. That’s what I am.
The Perfect Society
From the very beginning you are introduced to the strange society Jonas has been brought up in. You definitely get the feeling that the rules are suffocating and a lot of them get broken when no one’s looking.
One of the things they decided to remove from society was basically desire, which they call the Stirrings.
Pedaling rapidly down the path, Jonas felt oddly proud to have joined those who took the pills. For a moment, though, he remembered the dream again. The dream had felt pleasurable. Though the feelings were confused, he thought that he had liked the feelings that his mother had called Stirrings. He remembered that upon waking, he had wanted to feel the Stirrings again.
It was very sad to me that they take pills to get rid of those feelings, you definitely start to feel sorry for Jonas very quickly as you realize what kind of world he’s had to grow up in. This entire story is a great reminder that the world we have isn’t so bad and if we try to fiddle with it too much to make it “perfect”, the consequences would not be good.
A Different Kind of Boy
Can I say how much I loved Jonas? Yes, yes I can!
He really is obviously different than even his own family as the story progresses. He seems to naturally question things that everyone else accepts as normal.
At a ceremony, he gets assigned the position of Receiver which is a unique job that no one else has. Then he goes to meet the Giver to start his training of receiving memories.
That first meeting is mysterious and interesting. There’s a real sense of just how messed up the society is, all the wonderful things that they got rid of.
As the story moves along and Jonas continues to train with the Giver, the rising upset in him becomes intense as he realizes just how bad things are.
I absolutely love the bravery of Jonas. He really does go above and beyond what anyone would expect for a young man. Or even a grown man for that matter!
At dawn, the orderly, disciplined life he had always known would continue again, without him. The life where nothing was ever unexpected. Or inconvenient. Or unusual. The life without color, pain, or past.
My absolute favorite thing that Jonas did –>
The length of this story is good, easily read in a couple of weeks. It is hard to really review it without giving away every detail but I’ll just say this, it’s an awesome tale of a young man with great courage to do what he knows is right and needs to be done.
I found the ideas the society wanted changed to be so interesting. What makes a “perfect” community? The biggest thing I wonder is how they got to that point where they decided they needed to change so much.
If you’re looking for a story with plenty of emotion and wonderfully developed hero, The Giver is a great choice.
Are you an adult that enjoys YA fiction?
Are you like me and appreciate this kind of story so much more as an adult?