Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry

May 3, 2015 Review 52 ★★★★

Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Giver by Lois Lowry
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 240
Release Date: July 1st 2014
Series: The Giver Quartet #1
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy & Magic, Media Tie-In, Science Fiction, Young Adult
n a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community's Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1994 Newbery Medal winner, Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price.

I know what you’re thinking: is Alise just now reading this book? No way! But yes, my dear friends, I am just now reading this. If I’m remembering correctly, THE GIVER was an option to read in my elementary school but since there were limited copies I chose WALK TWO MOONS instead. Anyway, it took me way too long to read this book, but I’m almost glad I’m reading it for the first time at the age I am now because I believe there are so many elements that would have flew over my head otherwise. *gazes into distance* I’ve aged so much. (Not really)

Simply put, this is a fascinating read. Not everyone will love it-some will hate it, but the thought and debate it inspires is undeniable. While the writing is incredibly simple and easily readable, there is just so much between the lines.

Ever wonder how you would describe the color red, feeling of love, or even snow to someone who has never been able to experience those things? The fact that Lowry can do all this with this style of writing in 200 pages is beyond amazing to me. Not only does it make you thankful for all the things we are able to experience through life, it makes you think about humanity and the world we live in too.

That’s not to say the book is without flaws, because there were more than a few things that bothered me View Spoiler » but I felt like they were overshadowed by the idea of the novel as a whole. Still, I brought the book down to four stars because of this.

I think the absolute favorite thing of mine about this book is that it can be interpreted so many ways. Reviews vary all across the board and I can completely understand why. For example, with the ending, there is a lot of speculation about what happens (not so much anymore because of the last books) and so many people have different theories because it’s a relatively open ending, which I adored. Yep, I actually liked an open ending for the first time in history.

If you keep hesitating on reading this one, I definitely say go for it-I’m glad I did!

Rating Report
Overall: 3.9

52 Responses to “Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry”

  1. Andreea

    I have started reading this book a few months ago but I haven’t finished it because I put is aside since I wasn’t really in the mood for it at that time. I still want to finish it in the future though.

    Great review! Glad you enjoyed it!


    • Alise

      I can understand that, the same thing happened to me a few days ago with The Book Thief. Thanks! :)

  2. Joy @ Thoughts By J

    The Giver was never on any of my Aussie reading lists so I never had the pleasure of reading it in high school, but I saw the movie recently and loved how thought-provoking it was. I grabbed a copy of the original book in its original tiny size and have been waiting for the right moment to dive into it. *puts on philosophical cap* Perhaps the time is now! :P

    So glad to hear you enjoyed it Alise, I can’t wait to experience Lowry’s words.
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…ARC Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

    • Alise

      Oh, nice! I think if you enjoyed the movie you will enjoy the book as well, especially if you thought about the meaning behind it. I hope you enjoy it!

  3. Kezia

    I haven’t read this yet but I did see the movie when it was playing at the cinema last year. I thought the movie was pretty good but it lacked an emotional punch. Probably I’ll be able to experience more feels when I read this book ;) Great review, Alise!! ^^
    Kezia recently posted…Cress by Marissa Meyer

    • Alise

      I haven’t seen the movie but books do tend to make me more emotional! This one is more thought provoking than emotional but I hope you like it! Thanks :)

  4. Wattle

    I have not heard of this one before, but it sounds familiar (probably because of the movie everyone is mentioning in other comments lol) hmmmmmm. I am totally curious, because that sure sounds like some plot, I think it will have to go on the list :)
    Wattle recently posted…Book Review: Crave the Rose by Karen Kincy

  5. looloolooweez

    Ah, I read this when I was a tween and a lot of it DID go over my head. I mean I liked it, but didn’t really grasp the political/ethical undercurrents. I’m glad you read it and liked it, too! Do you think you’ll read the other Lowry books?
    looloolooweez recently posted…Where’d you go, looloolooweez?

    • Alise

      I think that’s what would have happened to me if I had read it when I was younger as well. I know they probably encourage it then because of the main character’s age but I’m not sure if they are getting the full message that way. I think so! I do like her writing.
      Alise recently posted…ARC Review: The Novice by Taran Matharu

    • Alise

      Yep, that’s why I eventually buckled down and read it, ha. I know what you mean, you have to be in a certain mood for it. Thanks :3

  6. Meredith

    I definitely feel like The Giver is a book that everyone should read at some point in their lives. The novel was never required for me to read, so I read it on my own at kind of a young age. In other words, I believe that I would respect and enjoy The Giver much more now that I’m older. Great review!
    Meredith recently posted…Through Fire & Sea Review

  7. Cait @ Paper Fury

    Yay I’m so glad you’ve read this now!! I read it when I was about, eh 13? I don’t know. >_< But anyway I was a bit confused by the ending. So I reread it just this year and ZOMG YOU ARE SO RIGHT. THERE IS SO MUCH BETWEEN THE LINES. It's gone from a "good" book to a "work of literary genius". I love Lois Lowry. I didn't love Gathering Blue but Messenger has a WORSE cliffhanger than The Giver. xD
    (I also loved Walk Two Moons. ;-)
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Do You Like “Ordinary” Characters?

    • Alise

      You obviously have great taste ;) RIGHT? It’s amazing what you can interpret about it now, knowing more! Exactlyyyyy!

  8. Ju @ Fictional Skylines

    I read this for elementary school and felt so confused the first time that I just raged in my school report with things like “The old man is losing his mind as he grows older” hahaha but after reading it again and again as I grew older, I started seeing the hidden messages. But you’re right, the ending was too rushed.

    I’m surprised they could make a movie for this. It definitely wasn’t as emotional and leaned on the action a bit too much but I’m sure it made more people understand some of the messages more clearly.
    Ju @ Fictional Skylines recently posted…Review: Paper Towns by John Green

    • Alise

      LOL, I relate to that perfectly. I did the same thing when I had to do a report on The Member of the Wedding.

      My thoughts exactly, especially since the book is short. Maybe they added some stuff in? I still need to watch it.

  9. Romi

    I read this when I was 12-13 and it was the first Dystopian I’d ever read, and I was completely blown away by it, and love it to this day. It’s a book that made me really think outside of the story and consider the harshness of reality and all that, and I’m glad that it was a good read for you, too, Alise, for the most part. I’ve been planning on reading the other books, apart from the second which I can never get into, but I also really like the ending to this one (yes with being surprised by enjoying an open ending- usually they are not my thing AT ALL) and like discovering within myself what happens next. So I don’t know. Are you planning on reading the rest of the series, Alise?
    Excellent review. You pinpointed the feelings and the experience and creative genius of Lois Lowry to perfection. Xx
    Romi recently posted…Angus, Thongs by Louise Rennison- a series review. OOH AAH.

    • Alise

      I couldn’t agree more, that is exactly how I thought of it as well. YES, I usually hate open endings but this fit so well. I do believe I will, although some people have said they aren’t as great. Thank you :D

  10. Tanja

    I totally agree with you when it comes to this one. It seems like a story that has so much in between those lines. But on the other hand like you I have read it too late. I guess I have read too many dystopians before to fully appreciate everything that this one has to offer. Great review, Alise :)
    Tanja recently posted…Review: Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

    • Alise

      It really does! I can understand that, especially as there are so many great dystopians out there. Thank you!

  11. Kirsty-Marie

    Uhm, I have a confession to make…*whispers* I haven’t read it. the writing is incredibly simple and easily readable, there is just so much between the lines. My kind of writing! And I love books that just really make you think, and you go away with so much more with those. I’m going to have to read this at some point, not sure about the open ending. :( But considering you liked it… ;)
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: The Wicked Will Rise

    • Alise

      Well I can’t say anything since I only read it this year :P I think you would like this one then! It’s pretty simple but wow, there is so much to think about. The open ending is along the same lines-you get to interpret it how you choose :)

  12. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    I cannot believe that I still haven’t read this one! I swear, I’m one of the last people on earth who has yet to touch this. BUT to be honest, I’m kinda scared to pick it up because I really want to love this one and if I don’t that’ll just be real disappointing and saaaaaaaad. Anyhow, so glad that this worked overall for you, girl! And I love the gifs you chose, hehe.

    Nice review <33
    Melanie (YA Midnight Reads) recently posted…Midnight Madness Newsletter (82)

    • Alise

      Actually it seems like there are a lot of people who still haven’t :P I know what you mean, that’s how I felt at first! Thanks :D

  13. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    hahaha omg don’t feel too bad Alise, I’m older than you and I only read this one last year…or the year before…at my age it’s hard to remember. Just kidding (kinda) Anyway, I was glad I’d (finally!) read this one too but for whatever reason, I just didn’t connect with it as much as I was hoping. I think I rated it three stars back then, but I’ve always felt I should reread it because I don’t think I was in the right mindframe for it at the time, you know? Like you said though, this book makes you think, makes you question things and makes you wonder about life, which I quite liked. And in this case, the open ending REALLY does fits. Wonderful review^^ ♥
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…ARC Review: The Wrath & The Dawn

    • Alise

      I don’t know, Micheline, I could secretly be an eighty-five year old woman, you just never know. I definitely think it’s one you have to be in the mood for, I tried to read the Book Thief and felt the same. Thank you! :)

  14. Christina @ Christina Writes

    I read this book SO MANY TIMES in school, it was my favorite for years and years. Definitely looking back on it now I know it has flaws, but it’s such a nostalgia read for me, I just love it.

    Actually, I love it so much that I’ve been kinda hesitant to read the sequels. Because for years I thought it was this lovely standalone book with a gorgeous open ending (that I always read as super positive, they’ve found somewhere safe, even though most people read it as “YEAH THEY DIED.”) — finding out that it was one of a series kinda disappointed me? IDK, it’s the only time I’ve ever been disappointed to find out there was more of a book that I loved. Totally weird reaction.
    Christina @ Christina Writes recently posted…Weekend Writing Warriors — May 03, 2015

    • Alise

      That is kind of how I feel, although I disliked some things I appreciated the thoughts it leaves you with more.

      Aha, I was upset at first because I thought they died but the more I thought about it I believed they lived and it turns out, they did. I know what you mean though, if I do read the sequels it might be a long time!

    • Alise

      It really does! I think so, although it might be awhile. That’s good to know, especially since I liked this one so much!

  15. Amir @ Not So Literary

    I have also not read this book and I’m ancient lol O.o I’m embarrassed to admit that I saw the movie without reading the book first! I liked the movie though so I’m thinking I would love the book more. It does make think and question some things in life!. I think I’ll try and listen to this on audio…I’ll let you know how it goes. Awesome review! :)
    Amir @ Not So Literary recently posted…Review: Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee Jones

    • Alise

      Don’t be! I would have seen the movie beforehand too xD I think you would too, it’s a short read but a powerful one. Ooh, please do! :D Thanks :3

    • Alise

      I can get that, that was my same predicament until this year! LOL, no I suppose it doesn’t xD They definitely could use some reprints.

  16. Terri M., the Director

    I read this one for the first time last year right before the movie came out. After reading it, I decided not to see the movie. The book is so beautifully written–simplistic yet complicated. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if I had been exposed to other modern dystopian fiction like The Hunger Games and Divergent first.

    I don’t plan to read the other books in the series. I was fine with the ending and don’t feel the need to know what Jonas is up to.

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews
    Terri M., the Director recently posted…Comment on A Note from the Director: The Madness That Is Real Life by This Week At Midnight (60) ⋆ It Starts at Midnight

    • Alise

      I’m so glad you felt the same! I still haven’t seen the movie either and I’m not sure I will. That’s an interesting point because I’m in that same boat too.

      I’m also pretty content with the ending.

  17. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    I loved this book and its open ending! Which I guess is the reason I disliked the sequels so much. The message the first book seems to weaken once the ending is somewhat “explained” in the next books.

    Anyways, I watched the movie, and while I didn’t enjoy all the changes they made to it, I did like how it complimented the book. It wasn’t the same as the book, but it explained some things that the book did not. I’m in the minority though XD
    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms recently posted…Review: End of Days by Susan Ee + Giveaway!

  18. Alise

    Same here! I’m really wondering if my feelings are going to be the same since I liked it so much. I may just leave the series here.

    That’s good to know! I’ll probably get to it someday :P

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