The Giver by Lois Lowry

Thoughts  tgbll The Giver by Lois Lowry, Dell Laurel-Leaf/Random House 1993, 179 pages, Newberry Medalist

MOTIVATION for READING: This was the highest rated book on one of those “BEST BOOK” lists that I had not yet read and didn’t know enough about it not to read. (There are a few books rated higher that I will never ever read because I just don’t want to.)

AND…    One of the students in a class I sub for mentioned this as one of his favorites.     So I read this in honor of him.  🙂   I also dared him to read the next in the series Gathering Blue so I’ll have to read that soon, I suppose.

WHAT IT’s ABOUT: A young boy lives with his perfect family in a perfect community in a perfect future and is chosen for a unique and honored role:   to be the receiver and keeper of the secrets of the past.     His sole responsibility is to receive the memories from the Giver, an older man who wants to pass on his duties before he’s too old to manage the task.      CAN EITHER of these two HANDLE IT?

WHAT’s GOOD: The setup is handled very well and I was desperate to know the conflict before I was ready to handle it.     The unfolding of the story is important.

WHAT’s NOT so GOOD: The ending is frustrating.     I don’t like series books because I don’t like having to read more books than the thousands I have already decided I want to read before I knew I would have to read the second in a series.     Does that make sense?   Another post, another day…


Plus, I’m frustrated to find out that Gathering Blue doesn’t necessarily address much if ANY of this story?   It’s apparently not a continuation.    So add the third book (which I’m not even sure the title!) to Mt. TBR.    I know, I’m just horrible.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I am looking forward to reading Number the Stars.   Is this the 3rd book in this series?     and I’m very glad to now say I’ve read a Lowry book.

This qualifies for my Read-A-Thon Oct09 Hour 16 Mini-Challenge to identify good books with an older protagonist.    Or main character.   A page or a real ongoing challenge on this topic/concept forthcoming.

RATING: Four Pie Slices of Apple Pie.


26 thoughts on “The Giver by Lois Lowry

  1. Was just thinking about this book for one reason or another. Oh and well I think that it’s difficult enough as it is writing about a topic that is quite heavy but handled quite well by Lowry.

  2. I just read this one myself, and was also frustrated that the ending was so abrupt. In my copy of the book there was an interview with the author though, and in there she claimed that she had gotten many questions about what happens to Jonas, and that that was up to the reader to decide…I think that the book called Messenger is the third one. At least The Giver, Gathering Blue and Messenger came in a collector’s box together when I bought them. But not sure.

    I am going to read them both soon, although I didn’t necessarily love The Giver.

  3. Yuppers I loved the story but felt very unhappy with the ending. At the time I read it, I had no idea it was a series book and I wasn’t ready to commit to three books – even though they are short.

  4. I loved this book, but also felt the ending was very frustrating. I think originally it was just meant to be ambiguous, because it was like 20 years before any sort of resolution was published. Gathering Blue is a parallel but unrelated story, and Messenger ties the two together. Not many of the questions are answered, but you do find out what’s happened to Jonas. Both are short and easy to read, but neither live up to the power of The Giver.

    Number the Stars is an unrelated book, about a family in WWII. It’s excellent and doesn’t have a cliffhanger-like end.

  5. I just assigned my college students The Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopia, and several of them mentioned that it reminded them of reading The Giver in high school.

  6. I just told you on Twitter, but I read this for the first time when I was little. I love it! The ambiguous ending didn’t bother me; I always assumed *spoiler alert* that Jonas and Gabe ended up being taken in by the nice family and that the Giver is killed by the community. But I get why it would bother other people!

  7. I read The Giver about 2 weeks ago-I also liked the book a lot but was frustrated by the ending. I read Number the Stars also. I liked it also and learned a lot about Denmark in WWII from the book.

  8. I remember reading The Giver in elementary school. The only scene I really recall is the one where the boy is giving an old lady a bath. I just remember being really grossed out by it, haha. I need to read this one again.

  9. Did I tell you that I enrolled in an online children’s literature class? There are several Lois Lowry books on the reading list. I was reading the syllabus to my daughter who was tapping away on the laptop, she said “Mom, I’m writing a paper about Lois Lowry RIGHT NOW!” (in other words, “stop talking!” eyeroll assumed!)

    Number the Stars is also on my list.

  10. I just added The Giver on audio to my MP3 player to listen to after I finish The Sky Inside. It’s one of my 12yo daughter’s favorite books of all time and I promised I’d read it.

  11. I love an ambiguous ending, and had no idea when I read The Giver that there were other books set in the same world. So yeah, I always imagined the ending for myself. I imagined a very nice ending.

    And yes, I third or fourth or whatever the recommendation to read Number the Stars. Very most excellent.

  12. This is one of my favorite books. Glad that you enjoyed it. Number the Stars isn’t a part of the series but it is an excellent read. One that I still remember all these years later.

  13. I also really liked this one until the end… and then The Messenger resolves the ambiguity, but resolves it in such a silly way (in my opinion) that it killed it for me.

  14. The name of the third book is “The Messenger”. I read this book with my kids after reading it myself, so I have a special attachment to it having shared it with them. The ending, by the way, is very different through their eyes, who believe that Jonas and the little boy make it to safety and a rational society. Personally, I thought they died and that was where he chose to live his afterlife, in one of his favorite memories the Giver gave him. I thought the difference between our views was one of the best things about the book.

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