Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Giver

Jonas lives in his own Community, where people are assigned everything in their lives from wives to house to jobs, where emotions are dampened by a pill and food is always available, where everything is orderly and rules are to be obeyed without question. At the onset of the book, it seems like an ideal world and Jonas does not question it. Until at his 12th ceremony, he is named the new Receiver of Memories. Once he meets the old man, the Giver, he starts to learn of how things were before the Communities and how even a perfect world contains its own horrors.

Amazingly I had never read this Newbery Award winner before. I genuinely liked it. There were parts that I found especially disturbing, like when Jonas finds out what it means to be "released" and the pills they start taking at the onset of puberty. Lowry creates a world here that shows that a "perfect" society comes at a price. I know this is an oft challenged/banned book but I don't think that I would have really understood certain things when I was younger. I think this is one of those books that you see differently as you grow up.

I actually listened to this one and Ron Rifkin, the narrator, does an excellent job. He gives Jonas the perfect voice and creates tension when needed. The only thing about the audiobook was the little music accompaniments to the memories. I found those distracting.

*Read for the Take a Chance Challenge - Public Spying book
*Also counts for Audio Book Challenge


  1. I read this for the first time last summer, and thought it was really good. Actually, when I read that part about the giver telling him, "you're starting to see the color red," I actually got shivers. It was so startling, I had to put the book down a moment. I've never had that exact reaction to any other book. My only qualm about the book was the super abrupt ending. I think it would be bit better now, though, because I've read the next two in the series and know what happens to Jonas after the book ends.

  2. Yeah, I wasn't sure for a moment if he was metaphorically dying or if he had found a village or what. But I'm going to read the next two.

  3. This sounds really interesting, like a combination of Brave New World, and 1984. Thanks for the review - it's been added to my TBR.

  4. This sounds really interesting ... I've never even heard of it but the premise sounds so interesting and it seems like quite a good book based on your review and the comments. How neat to stumble into this book!


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