Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Giver

Lowry, Lois. The Giver.

New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin, 1993. Print The Giver

Annotation: Jonas lives in a perfect community of total happiness and perfection. It is safe, free of fear or pain. Each and every person has a specific and chosen role to play. There are no choices. This perfect world changes for Jonas when he chosen to receive special training from The Giver.


Is honestly really the best policy? Will the truth really set you free? Jonas is turning twelve soon, and that means he would get his assignment in the community and start his training. The elders study every child carefully so that their job fits them perfectly. In Jonas’ family unit, his father has the job of Nurturer, which takes care of all of the newborn children until they are ready to be placed. His mother has a prominent position at the Department of Justice. It is with apprehension waiting to see what his assignment might be in the special ceremony. What Jonas is not prepared for is the assignment of the new Receiver! It is the highest honor, but he soon discovers that high honor comes at a high price.

Jonas is given a list of rules to follow - he can ask questions and lie if needed! He then begins to train with the former Receiver, who is now called, the Giver. The Giver gives Jonas memories; memories of all the people back and back and back for many generations. The people in Jonas' community have only the memories of their own generation; it is safer that way. It is safer when they do not know of the memories of war or hunger, so the Receiver keeps these memories for everyone. The Giver gives Jonas memories of joy and of pain, memories of snow and cold. This is an amazing discovery for Jonas but now a lonely one since he alone must carry the burden of memories. He learns about color, which others cannot see and to feel love and emotion. Jonas’ current world is sameness but his knowledge is expanding and he learns the truth of being “released”. Jonas’ father brings home a newborn, Gabriel, that may need to be “released” (killed), because the baby doesn’t fit the community’s criteria. Jonas is able to calm the baby by giving the child some of the memories he has received. Jonas begins to think that maybe keeping all the memories to himself may not really be the best thing for the community. Should things be changed? What will he do now that he knows the truth?

Honors & Awards

  • A Boston Glove-Horn Book Honor Book
  • An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
  • An ALA Notable Book for Children
  • Winner of the Regina Medal
  • A Booklist Editors’ Choice
  • A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

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