The Giver

Lois Lowry

The Giver
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The Giver

Lois Lowry

The Giver is the classic award-winning novel that inspired the dystopian genre and a major motion picture adaptation for 2014 starring Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift.

It is the future. There is no war, no hunger, no pain. No one in the community wants for anything. Everything needed is provided. And at twelve years old, each member of the community has their profession carefully chosen for them by the Committee of Elders.

Twelve-year old Jonas has never thought there was anything wrong with his world. But from the moment he is selected as the Receiver of Memory, Jonas discovers that their community is not as perfect as it seems. It is only with the help of the Giver, that Jonas can find what has been lost. And it is only through his personal courage that Jonas finds the strength to do what is right…

The Giver is the award-winning classic of bravery and adventure that has inspired countless dystopian writers as the forerunner of this genre.

Review

The Giver is a brilliant example of dystopian literature, written in 1993, long before the glut in this genre. It was unusual at the time and banned from some schools and libraries, but also won the Newbery Medal.

Jonah lives in ‘The Community’, a group protected from the outside world whose lives are comfortable and ordered, helped along by happy pills that everyone must take daily once they hit puberty. But the pills have dulled their real emotions and their capacity to think critically and remember the past. There are no books or songs, no awareness of war or tragedy. One person in the Community is entrusted to remember the collective memories for everyone else – the Receiver. When Jonah is chosen to train as the next Receiver, his mind is opened up to the reality of their world and the sacrifices that are made to maintain their comfortable lives.

An incredibly thought-provoking and insightful story, The Giver still challenges readers just as much as it did when first published. The forthcoming movie, directed by Australian Phillip Noyce, should bring this book a new generation of admirers and, no doubt, dissenters too.


Angela Crocombe is the Children’s Book Buyer at Readings Carlton.

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