Audiobook Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry

giverTitle: The Giver
Author: Lois Lowry
Genre: YA dystopian fiction
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Ron Rifkin
First line: It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.

My daughter read Lois Lowry’s The Giver last year and immediately declared that it was one of her all-time favorite books – and that I HAD to read it. The two YA dystopian challenges were the perfect reason, and so I checked out the audiobook from the library. It was absolutely amazing.

Jonas is about to go through the ceremony of 12, in which he will receive his work assignment. In Jonas’s world, all children ages 8 through 11 perform a certain number of required hours of volunteer work, and they are observed by the Elders. The Elders determine each child’s talents and proclivities, and then assign the children the jobs they will perform for all of their adult lives.

When the Ceremony of 12 is held, Jonas is startled to discover that he hasn’t been assigned, but has been chosen to be the Community’s new Receiver of Memory. A long time ago, back and back and back, the Community embraced the concept of “Sameness.” It is the main tenet of their community and government – sameness, uniformity. But one person is chosen to hold all the memories of the time before, and the current Receiver is getting old and so must become the Giver and give the memories to Jonas.

As Jonas receives the memories, he receives many things he has never experienced before: color, emotion, loneliness, war, joy, suffering, love, family, fun. And Jonas begins to understand just what the Community has sacrificed in order to have Sameness. When Jonas learns an awful truth about the Community at large, and his father in particular, he and the Giver come up with a plan to bring about change.

Natalie was absolutely right – this is a brilliant book. The fact that Lowry could layer so much depth and truth and thought into such a short book is amazing. Jonas is a wonderful character, as is The Giver himself. The world of Sameness is described so completely as we experience Jonas’s story, that the world becomes real. I became engrossed in Jonas’s story, so much so that I wept in many different parts of the book. Anyone who reads this can’t help but become wrapped up in Jonas and his journey, and along the way be confronted with so many issues: the value of life; the way that only suffering and hardship can bring true meaning to joy and pleasure; honor and respect for the elderly; how a desire for complete comfort can lead to denying the very things that make us human.

I can’t say enough about this book – it truly is a must-read. I am very much looking forward to the other two books in the trilogy.

This entry was posted in science fiction, YA fiction and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Audiobook Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry

  1. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    I’m so glad you had the chance to read this. My kids and I listened to the audio as well, and were absolutely BLOWN AWAY. This book is the perfect example of how a children’s book can communicate a powerful message without being dumbed down (which I find often). The whole trilogy is excellent, but The Giver was our favorite. How many kids’ books do you read where you are shaken to the core?
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..The House at Riverton – Kate Morton (audio) =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sandy – are you an Alias fan? I just figured out the reader was actor Ron Rifkin!

  2. Kathy says:

    My son loved this when he read it, but I’ve never tried it. It sounds like I should.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..The Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies – Day 4 =-.

  3. Stephanie says:

    This is one of my favorite books ever! I have not read the other two books though and never really hear anything about them, so I don’t know if they’re as good as this one.
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Teaser Tuesday: Sylvia’s Lovers =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Stephanie – It really is excellent. I plan to read the rest of the trilogy, so stay tuned!

  4. Heather @ Book Addiction
    Twitter: BookAddictHeath
    says:

    I read The Giver when I was a kid, and then again about a year ago. It truly is a brilliant book, I’m glad you enjoyed it so much.
    .-= Heather @ Book Addiction´s last blog ..Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Heather – I’m going to have to listen to my daughter’s book recommendations more often, I think!

  5. Vasilly
    Twitter: Vasilly
    says:

    I’m so happy you’ve enjoyed this book. It is one of my all-time favorites. I’m hoping to re-read it next year.
    .-= Vasilly´s last blog ..Poetry Wednesday =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Vasilly – I think it would be the kind of book that you could get something deeper upon each re-reading.

  6. nomadreader
    Twitter: nomadreader
    says:

    I read The Giver earlier this year for my children’s literature class and loved it! As a warning, the other two in the “trilogy” are good, but they’re incredibly loosely related and didn’t move me nearly as much. They’re certainly worth reading, but don’t expect The Giver II. Enjoy!
    .-= nomadreader´s last blog ..Waiting on Wednesday: O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Nomadreader – that’s what my daughter said, too. She was glad she’d finished, but wished they had been as good as – and more connected to – The Giver.

  7. stacybuckeye says:

    I don’t know how I missed this one when I was younger, but your review has me itching to remedy that!
    .-= stacybuckeye´s last blog ..Golden Conspiracy: A Jacsen Kidd Mystery by Robert James Glider =-.

  8. heidenkind says:

    Did you read this for the DistopYAn Challenge?
    .-= heidenkind´s last blog ..Angelic Links =-.

  9. Pingback: The Giver « Just A (Reading) Fool

  10. I also loved it, Carrie…here’s my review (at the bottom of which I just added a link to your review): http://justareadingfool.wordpress.com/2008/10/01/the-giver/
    .-= unfinishedperson´s last blog ..The call of Spenser and Cthulhu =-.

  11. Pingback: Mommy Brain » Bookish stuff

  12. Pingback: The Giver | an unfinished person (in this unfinished universe)