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The Giver
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Book Review

Review by Hannah Lee Yanson

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Published by Bantam Double Dell Publishing Group, Inc, September 1994


It is available in paperback


Age level: 6th grade


The content is appropriate for this age level because the story emphasizes having reached the age 12 getting responsibilities. The story is about this boy named Jonas. Jonas's world is perfect.  Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. When Jonas turns twelve he is assigned out to receive a special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life.  Now it's time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back. Jonas is filled with fear.  He doesn't know what his selection means. He doesn't know what he is to become. Or what would become of him. This book would help the readers realize how important future is in each of our lives. This is impossible to happen but when you read it, it seems real. This is a very good book.  This is the children to whom the elders entrust the future. This book can be an assignment reading.  The quality of the plot is good. A lot of things happening in the story that may be kind of confusing and they should follow carefully of what they are reading. This may be one of the first books that children will read that would help them realize to do their responsibilities. They should do what they are responsible for. In the story, the society we find there seems ideal. Everyone has a job for which he or she is suited emotionally, physically and mentally. Parents are very caring and very responsible for their families. Every family has a mother, father, and two children, and each sex. There is so much joy in the family and everyone is so concern about each other. It is very safe.  There is no crime. Everybody seems to be nice. People are safe from diseases. It is an awesome world to live in. But we see it all through the eyes of Jonas, a young boy about to receive his life's
assignment along with others of his age group. To his surprise he is given the most respected job of
all. He is to be trained to become the "Receiver of Memory". In this society that they live in, people don't want to be burdened with memories. And they also don't want to make decisions or changes which, in the past, have led to disaster so they have assigned one person to keep all the memories of history, their own and that of all societies.


The Receiver's job is to listen to their proposals and just tell them whether or not they should do it based on the lessons of history.  The present Receiver how sets about giving the memories, all of them, to Jonas.  He does so through all the senses.  Jonas learns about things that are not present in this society like war and hate, of snow and trees and colors.  He also learns of the horror all around him.  The Giver presents a "today" world of sameness:  Everyone has to live in the present world, no opportunity to choose what they want, no freedom; Everybody seems to live the same thing.  Since our world is not like that, we should appreciate the freedoms we have.  We should be thankful that we have the opportunity to exercise our freedoms. We are free to do anything today and in the future.  We are free to look back and see the importance of the past in the direction of that future. This novel is not difficult to read. Fifth graders should be able to grasp most of it in this book.
This is a very special book. Everyone has to read it.