1994 Newbery Medal Winner
The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Celebrated children’s book author Lois Lowry excels at tackling difficult subjects that many adults might shy away from discussing with kids. Her Newbery Medal–winning novel The Giver is an excellent example of this extraordinary talent. In an apparently perfect society engineered to eliminate injustice and suffering, 12-year-old Jonas is assigned the village’s most honored job: Receiver of Memory. But this important role affords Jonas a unique perspective, revealing troubling truths that undermine his community’s central beliefs and values. With direct and meticulous prose, Lowry explores our need for control and stability—as well as the strange, wondrous breadth of human experience that cannot be contained. The Giver is an affecting tale of moral dilemmas and immense courage that will resonate with readers of all ages.
In the ``ideal'' world into which Jonas was born, everybody has sensibly agreed that well-matched married couples will raise exactly two offspring, one boy and one girl. These children's adolescent sexual impulses will be stifled with specially prescribed drugs; at age 12 they will receive an appropriate career assignment, sensibly chosen by the community's Elders. This is a world in which the old live in group homes and are ``released''--to great celebration--at the proper time; the few infants who do not develop according to schedule are also ``released,'' but with no fanfare. Lowry's development of this civilization is so deft that her readers, like the community's citizens, will be easily seduced by the chimera of this ordered, pain-free society. Until the time that Jonah begins training for his job assignment--the rigorous and prestigious position of Receiver of Memory--he, too, is a complacent model citizen. But as his near-mystical training progresses, and he is weighed down and enriched with society's collective memories of a world as stimulating as it was flawed, Jonas grows increasingly aware of the hypocrisy that rules his world. With a storyline that hints at Christian allegory and an eerie futuristic setting, this intriguing novel calls to mind John Christopher's Tripods trilogy and Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Girl. Lowry is once again in top form--raising many questions while answering few, and unwinding a tale fit for the most adventurous readers. Ages 12-14.