Book Review: The Giver


The haunting story centers on Jonas who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.

First line: “It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.”

Title: The Giver (#1)
Author: Lois Lowry
My edition: It’s a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt published in 2014, with 240 pages. It was first published in 1993.
Age: Young Adult (12+)
Series: The Giver Quartet (Total of 4 books)
Genres: Classics, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Childrens and Middle Grade.

I first saw the movie, then just completely fell in love with the world, and I just knew that I had to read the books.

The Giver quartet was to me, maybe something that could be just as good as other books in its category, like Divergent, the Hunger Games, the Maze Runner etc. I felt like after I’d read the synopsis, I felt like, okay, this is something I’ll enjoy. And I had it on my TBR list for a while, until I found it and finally bought it. The plot is interesting, and it goes so hand in hand with the world, because everything kind of falls on the world-building that Lowry did. It is exciting because there’s a lot of interesting quirks to the world she’s built. When that’s said, I also found it very slow and kind of boring at times.

I like the world a lot. It’s so interesting, I love the way she’s created this safe and kind of naive community that thinks they have it all figured out. I love the way she in this book made war, racism, poverty, starvation, criminality, that everything was just gone. It was peaceful. It is the kind of utopia we dream about, and she created it on only 224 pages. I also love the way she divides the different ages, the way they are given a job based on their attributes, and the way the society works on its own. I have to point out that I saw the movie before I read the book, and I felt a little influenced by it, because I didn’t really make up my own “thoughts” or “imaginations” about what the world was like – but I like the world, it’s interesting, and I feel like we can actually learn some things from this book.

The language is easy, and the writing style is somewhat uninteresting. We get the details we need to make an opinion on something or someone. The book is more or less a book for children, but at the same time I enjoy it all though I can’t say that I feel like I love the book because of her writing style. I feel like through more descriptive work, and through more descriptive words she could have heightened the style of writing, and therefore giving the book a more interesting tone.

The dramaturgy of the book isn’t at all what I thought it would be. It’s slow, and there aren’t many heightened points where I feel like something is actually happening. This was probably one of the slowest books I’ve ever read, and I’ve read plenty, they were the reason I stopped reading when I was younger.

I like Jonas, and I like being a careful monitor of his movements and his thoughts. As I was reading I felt like Jonas was a very well-reflected and proper guy. He’s a guy I want to get to know. I could relate to a lot of his thoughts, but I could also kind of understand why he was thinking the way he was. The character himself is interesting; he’s special, but he doesn’t feel special – and he wants to share his new knowledge.

“I liked the feeling of love,’ [Jonas] confessed. He glanced nervously at the speaker on the wall, reassuring himself that no one was listening. ‘I wish we still had that,’ he whispered. ‘Of course,’ he added quickly, ‘I do understand that it wouldn’t work very well. And that it’s much better to be organized the way we are now. I can see that it was a dangerous way to live.’
…’Still,’ he said slowly, almost to himself, ‘I did like the light they made. And the warmth.”

The Giver is someone I imagine as being my grandfather, only a rather pained and wise version. He’s nice, and again, I feel like I want to get to know him. I see him as this warm and outgoing man at one side, and this scary and kind of angry man on the other side. I feel sorry for him when he’s in pain, and I feel happy when he’s happy.

“There’s much more. There’s all that goes beyond – all … that is Elsewhere – and all that goes back, and back, and back. I received all of those, when I was selected. And here in this room, all alone, I re-experience them again and again. It is how wisdom comes. And how we shape our future.”

I’m giving the book a 3 out of 5 because there are some things that just pull the book down on a lower level. Especially the dramaturgy, there’s not mut action, and there’s a lot of telling what a person does and sees, but not much descriptive words about the things the person does or sees. I like the book in a way where I want to continue on the series because they’re easy to read. But right now, as I’ve just started Gathering Blue, which is the second book, I’m starting to realize that this isn’t what I thought it was. I actually start to realize that I found the movie more interesting and filled with cliff-hangers and cool stuff.

Favorite quote: “The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”



4 comments on “Book Review: The Giver

  1. This is a really good review. I have never read this book, even though I meant to do so for years. Maybe I should just give up and watch the movie. I like the way you organised this review, and you presented your thoughts very clearly.


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