Review: The Giver


  • Author: Lois Lowry
  • ISBN: 9780553571332
  • Genre: Science-Fiction/Dystopian
  • Pages: 180

Jonas’s world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. When Jonas turns 12 he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back. – Goodreads synopsis

This is one of the many books I’ve learned that lots of kids from my generation read during middle school but that I hadn’t.  I got a copy so I could find out why teachers felt this was a book that was important enough to be a part of their curriculum.
While it’s certainly not the first to point out that perfectly ordered societies are never perfect, it might be the first that doesn’t do so to take a stance against Socialism.  Instead, Lowry seems to be against the idea of a “perfect” society in general.  To attain that level of peace and order, we would have to give up the very attributes that make us human and all the things that give real meaning to our lives.
The Giver isn’t my favorite Dystopian novel.  It’s not even my second favorite.  However, it deserves a solid place high up on the list of “must read” Dystopian fiction.  Having finally read it, I can now see its influence on more modern novels from authors who are close to my age.