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A novel by Lois Lowry, an author of novels aimed towards young teenagers. In it, there is an utopian society that distributes jobs according to what a person is qualified for. A large committee decides these things, and just about everything else. The main character is a little kid who has just received the job known as the giver. There is only one in the entire society and the old giver must teach the new giver. The people of this society have no extreme memories, so they don't remember anything painful, sad, or really happy. Only the giver has these memories and he acts as a vault for these memories. The old giver transfers these memories to the main character and in doing so, the little kid starts to see colors (whereas everyone else sees in black and white). I could never be a giver because I am terrible at holding memories(I've already forgotten how this book ends).

The Giver reads on many levels, the first one of which depicts difference among people as bad. The utopian society they developed in was wrought out of the frustration people had in their inability to deal with difference. But we find out its not really a utopia, is it? Not everyone agrees? If just one person carries all that emotion and frustration, then its not a whole utopia.
On a deeper level this book plants the seed of an ideology in its readers. The society of The Giver allows no important personal choices to be made, it allows for no weakness of any kind, either. One precipitious plot point is over an infant that is not 'developing' the way it is supposed to. Its not that is has three arms and half a brainstem, its just got a maladjusted temperament. In the story's world, that is enough to terminate it.

Think about this, would this EVER be acceptable? Unfortunately, equally insignificant reasons have been the platform of genocide before. The ideology that different is OK and it is certainly a bad idea to force everyone to be the same is social innoculation. Lowry has given every reader a weapon against falling prey to the gross social disease of not only not accepting those that are different, but doing away with them.

This is beautiful story, and it makes me cry every time I read it.

It is about a future society, where there is a place for everyone and everything. No one is left out or needy, everyone has the job that they enjoy most in the entire world, everyone's spouse is their perfect complement. Children are raised attentively and carefully by their perfectly attuned mothers and fathers. Everyone always says exactly what they mean. The weather stays a comfortable seventy degrees, and cloudy - no sunburn, no glare, no dangerous ice or cold rain.

Everyone is content; any possible choice is always the right one, and can only lead to further contentment.

At the end of his eleventh year, when each of his peers is assigned to their dream career, Jonas is singled out. He is to become the new Receiver; the old Receiver, nearing the end of his years, asks now to be called the Giver. Jonas is to receive the memories held in trust by the Giver, and use them to advise and steer the community's leaders after the Giver can no longer do so. These memories are the collective memories of humanity: Jonas learns about colors (blue sky, green grass, red apples), about grandparents and families, and love, and pain and war and death. He feels snow, sails on the ocean, lies dying on a battlefield, and sees kittens playing. He attends birthday parties, holidays, and funerals. He learns about the ghastly veil his society has drawn over death.

At first, Jonas is appalled, and confused, and very frightened. He had never realized that life had ever been different; he had never felt any real emotion, or any real pain. He begins to try to make others understand - but they have no basis for any of the concepts, and simply turn back to their contented lives, bewildered for only a second or two by this strange child - this strange man.

Jonas and the Giver both conclude that the decision made long, long ago to gain eternal contentment at the price of color, music, animals, real emotion, and anything that is not sameness was the wrong one, even though pain, also, is no more.

Jonas prepares, and sets out to remake that choice for the people of his community.


I can't do the story justice.

It ends too soon.


The Giver received the Newbery Award in 1994. Lois Lowry is also the author such books as Number the Stars and the Anistasia series.

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