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Deidre's Book Reviews

The Giver
True Believer
The Tale of Despereaux
The Giver
The First Part Last
A Single Shard
How Angel Peterson Got His Name
SHAKA: King of the Zulus
The Gold Cadillac
Freedman's Voice that Challenged A Nation
Messages in the Mailbox
Seymour's Stars
Author Study: Joyce Carol Thomas
My Favorite Joyce Carol Thomas Books
Suggested Response Activity
Review of Thomas's Hush Songs
Review of Thomas's Gingerbread Days
Ride a Purple Pelican
My Momma Likes to Say
My Man Blue
Beast Feast
The Stinky Cheese Man
Once Upon A Time
My Friend Rabbit
Caring for Your Pets
Two Bad Ants

Lowry, Lois.1993.THE GIVER. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

                ISBN: 0-395-64566-2





The Giver describes a teenager, at the age of twelve, Jonas, who becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other person in his community and discovers the truth about the society where he lives.  The history of the world is in the mind of one person, The Giver, who has the memories of both the pleasure and pain of life. 

The society depicted in the story is utopian, which is very abnormal from what we are used to.




The society has chosen to move toward Sameness, having no choices, pain, warfare, or starvation.  Of course this life appears to be quite nice in the beginning.  However, as the story progresses, it becomes evident that this world of no worries is anything but. 





If any member of this Samed society does not comply with its rules, they are “released” from the community (it becomes evident that released means put to death).  The people are defined by their roles as birth mothers, caretakers, nurturers, laborers, and givers.  The roles are designed to each member’s personality.  Any citizen who is thought of as unproductive is killed by the government.




Color plays an important role in the story.  No one other than Jonas and the former Giver are allowed to see color.  Once Jonas begins to see color, he becomes to see how necessary it is that others are led free from the sameness. 




The government determines how many children per children.  In the House of the Old, leaders decide when a person is to be put to death.  When twins are born, the smaller twin is put to death by lethal injection.




The topics of lethal injection and euthanasia explained in the story may critics questioning whether or not the novel is appropriate for young readers.  A ten year old girl in the story chooses euthanasia when she is faced with becoming The Giver.  This sends a very interesting and maybe even frightening message to young readers.  The idea of killing oneself to change circumstances in life becomes an option. 




The story is told through the eyes of Jonas, a twelve year old, who realizes that he must change the way his society lives.  Jonas, is considered to be the protagonist in the story, determined to make good of the situation and give the people vision and ability to feel pain and warmth.  When I finished reading the novel, I began to think about how some people may feel before they commit suicide.  Lowry’s story helps the reader to think about the importance of living and enjoying life and other people.




Although the Sameness society described in the story is truly fiction, the idea of killing and warfare are very real.  The novel is categorized as contemporary realism.  Of course, it is fits the mold also due to the controversy.  For these reasons, I would take Tunnel and Jacob’s advise and read this book with my children and talk about the factors of death and lethal injection together.    

Last Updated: April 17, 2005