Author: Lois Lowry
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1993.
Jonas is born into a world where everything is the same. Every family has a mother, father, daughter and son. Every child goes to school each day and learns their lessons. Each year marks a new skill learned and a new priviledge given. No one is ever hungry or has ever known pain. Everyone wears the same exact clothing and follows all the rules, and everyone is happy. But when Jonas is selected to become the new Receiver, he meets the Giver, a man who keeps all the memories of a time before sameness. It is through the Giver that Jonas begins to realize that this world without pain and suffering means a world without real joy or love, a world without humanity. He and the Giver realize that this type or living can’t benefit the society any longer, and find a way to change things for all.
A fantastic book about the choices society makes. It also really illustrates excellent points about the human condition. Without pain, we can’t truly appreciate joy, and without hate we can’t truly understand love. This book shows that while living without certain feelings might be more ideal, because who wants to feel suffering or watch a loved one die, it is a part of what makes us human. One can’t streamline life, because to do so would take out what makes it most important. Being an individual and seeing the world for both the good and the bad is what makes life worth living. Excellently written, thought provoking not only for younger teens but also for those that are older.
Genre: Science Fiction
Reading level: 6th Grade
Similar Books: Bridge to Terabithia
Personal thoughts- Having read this as a child, and then reread it for this course, I found it to be even more thought provoking. Definitely a book to have a discussion about
Subjects/themes- Society, Relationships, Social Situations, Fiction
Awards- The 1994 Newbery Medal, 1996 William Allen White Award
Jonas- 12 years old, is selected to be the next Receiver, a great honor
Giver- The old receiver of the group, he is entrusted with all the memories of the society, and must pass them to Jonas, along with the wisdom to know what to do with them
Annotation: What would you do if you alone knew what the color red looked like?