Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Is It a Gift?


Can you imagine living in a world where everything is the same? Imagine a place where everyone celebrates their birthday on the same date and on that date they are given the same gift. No one gets to pick their husband or wife, because they are selected for them. Pills must be taken to suppress feelings, and everyone lives a life of sameness. Nothing bad gets in the way of the peacefulness. Even jobs are determined by the skills one has, and everyone is presented with their job on their twelfth birthday. Jonas is curious about what job he will be given. He doesn’t seem interested in anything enough to do it forever, but he knows at the ceremony he will find out his destiny. When he learns that he will be the Receiver of Memory his life is forever changed. He must begin training with “The Giver”, who has to pass down memories to him from the time before their world was the same in case anyone every needs that information. The process is full of images and senses that Jonas has never experienced. Some memories are beautiful and others are sad or painful. The more Jonas learns about his new position, the less he likes it and the more he has to think about. It is lonely being the Receiver of Memory and there are so many rules! Does Jonas have what it takes to be the Receiver of Memory? Will he be able to handle the pressure and memories bestowed upon him? Is it fair to make one person hold so many memories? What would you do with new memories about another type of life so different from your own? You must read this book to find out how Jonas reacts to his new position and how he deals with the world around him.

The Giver by Lois Lowry was not what I expected. The title sounds so pleasant that I thought the book would be filled with happy thoughts and memories. I thought the memories would be a gift. Lois Lowry creates a dystopian world with some familiar elements from our world that I could easily relate to, but it was different enough to capture my interest and make me want to keep on reading. I think the plot was unique, and it made me think about life and memories. As Jonas discovered more than he ever wanted to know about the world around him, I was anxiously turning the pages to find out what would happen next. Jonas is a regular boy, who doesn’t really want to grow up, and I could relate to that. Memories are so important to us because they are our connection to our friends, family, and the world around us. I can’t imagine not knowing about love, pain, sadness, excitement, and the kaleidoscope of emotions that I have felt. I can hear a song and remember something that happened last year, or smell the muddy air in spring and think back to a time three years before that had the same scent. The Giver made me think long and hard about memories and what they mean. I can’t say that I have it all figured out, but it has been thought-provoking to say the least. There are definitely some sad situations in the story, which is why I think this book would be most enjoyed by kids in fifth grade and up. The best part- I recently found out that this is just the first in a set of four books, which are loosely based on the same world. I am intrigued to learn more about this series!

Has anyone else read The Giver? Or read another book by Lois Lowry? If so, what did you think?

Happy Reading! ~L

32 comments:

  1. Thanks for this review. I remember loving The Giver when I read it (for a kid lit class in graduate school) and my daughter felt the same way when she read it. I think it is one of those books kids read just at the age of conformity and this makes conformity look really awful - so much is lost. I have the other three books connected to The Giver, but haven't read them yet.

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    1. Alex- Thanks so much for your thoughtful post. I think you worded it perfectly. So glad to hear that you and your daughter both enjoyed The Giver. ~L

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  2. Sounds like such a thought provoking read, thanks for recommending it.

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    1. Petty- It is! Happy reading! ~L

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  3. Great review :) I still haven't read this book.. but I do own a tiny paperback edition of it, so hoping to read it one day :) I'm glad you enjoyed this book. It does seem pretty awesome :D
    Love, Carina @ Carina's Books

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    1. Carina- How cool that you already own a copy of this one. I think you will enjoy it. It will give you lots to think about when reading it!
      ~L

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  4. I, too, remember reading this eons ago...

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    1. Patty- Yeah! :) You are always reading. I love it! ~L

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  5. I read it a very long time ago. In fact, I think I still have a copy somewhere.

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    1. Lee- The Giver is such an interesting book. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. :) ~L

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  6. I taught this to my grade six class and they all loved it. It is one of those books that should be on every child"s "to read" list. Thanks for the review and reminding us to go back and re-read great novels!

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    1. My name is Marilyn- I love that you taught The Giver to your grade sic class. I agree that all kids should read this one at some point. Thanks for stopping by! :) ~L

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  7. I love the GIver! I remember watching Equilibrium with Christian Bale and being reminded of this book!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. Nutshell- How awesome that you loved The Giver! I have never seen Equilibrium- but now I am curious. :) ~L

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  8. I have not read this one, but I have heard some great things. Wow It would be so terrible to not be able to feel and recall memories, life would be so dull. I already have a copy I purchased it awhile when it was $.99 now to find the time to read it.

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    1. Heidi- Memories and emotions are so much a part of who we are it hard to imagine a different life! I hope you get to read The Giver soon since you already have a copy. :) Yeah! ~L

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  9. This seems very different from Gathering Blue which is the only book I've read out of the series. I'm interested now more than ever about The Giver. I don't remember reading a summary of it so your description really helped. This reminds me of Alzheimer's. It's kind of disturbing to think of not remembering or feeling anything.

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    1. Adriana- After reading your comment I am even more curious to read Gathering Blue. I will have to get to it soon. They are supposedly all loosely intertwined. It is almost like a society with Alzheimer's. Definitely disturbing to think about! :) Thanks for your thoughtful comment. ~L

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  10. Love, love, LOVE this book. It's one of my all-time faves and I read it to every class I have. They all love it - there's so much to think about & discuss. Lowry is brilliant!

    I really liked Gathering Blue as well (it's not as powerful as the Giver, but it's still very good). I wasn't a fan of the Messenger - but I should give it another reread one day before I decide to pass on the 4th one that just came out.

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    1. Jemi- I can see why it is one of your all-time faves! How wonderful that you read it to all of your classes. Lois Lowry is amazing. I am really looking forward to Gathering Blue (I love the name). :) Thanks for sharing! ~L

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  11. Oops - and happy birthday Jess! :) Enjoy the goodies!

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    1. Hi Jemi-
      Thanks! My birthday was wonderful. :) ~Jess

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  12. Great review. I'd never want to live in a world like that - I'm so independent.

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    1. Donna- Thanks! I agree with you! :) ~L

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  13. From different writers everywhere, I've heard The Giver was a 5-star read. I couldn't find a copy of it in my bookshops last year, but I'll search again this year. Can't give up a 5-star book that easily!

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    1. Hi Claudine- I hope you stumble upon a copy of The Giver! Good luck! ~L

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  14. The premise reminds me of a couple of more-recent dystopians, but I really like the fact that the MC in this is a guy!!! Very cool! :0)

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    1. M. Christine- The Giver was published in 1993, but I am sure since then there are more books with similar plots. Especially now that dystopian books are so popular. I haven't read any like this one, yet. I dd like hearing about the society from a guy's POV. :) ~L

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  15. I must look for a copy it sounds like something I would enjoy.

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    1. Barbara- This book will definitely make you think! :) ~L

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  16. I have read The Giver and I also read Gathering Blue - the second one in the series. It has recently been turned into a movie as well, although I do have yet to see that. I want to though! I read this for school - and yes, it is more dark than some people think. Memories are important and I think this stressed how we cannot move forward as humanity without knowing our past.

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    1. Olivia- Savannah- I agree with you that the book is much darker and deeper than many people realize. I haven't seen the movie yet and still need to read the rest of the series. I hope I get to all of them soon. :) ~L

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