Friday, January 18, 2008

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Published in 1993.
Awarded the Newbery Medal in 1994.
Audio book performed by Ron Rifkin.

This was actually a re-read for me - of a book that immediately became an all-time favorite when I read it several years ago on the recommendation of a friend. I planned to re-read The Giver this month for the Yahoo! Book Awards Group, as well as to refresh my memory of it before reading Gathering Blue, the second book in what Lowry's website calls simply "The Trilogy." (I have also heard the set of three books, which also includes Messenger, referred to as "companion books.")

Because I was looking for a book to listen to during my commute and because I have several times in the past gotten a new perspective and enhanced enjoyment from hearing a book after my initial read, I picked up the Book on CD version of The Giver when I was at the library last week. I found the book to be just as tremendous the second time through - and Ron Rifkin's performance was delightful.

The Giver is the kind of book that makes you think - and which continues to stimulate thought on a re-read. The themes of choice, freedom, and diversity are powerfully explored in the novel. I think my emotional reaction was even more profound on hearing the story of Jonas, the young protagonist of the book, than when I read it. The Giver will continue to be an all-time favorite of mine!

Sadly, The Giver is on the ALA's list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Challenged Books of 1990-2000. Read more about the challenges faced by the book here.



  1. I love this one. I'll have to do the audio version with my daughter. There is so much to talk about in this story.

  2. I have always liked Lois Lowry and we read many of hers when I was still homeschooling my four kids but strangely we always seem to have missed this one. I may have to add this one in somewhere for this year's reading!

  3. I am also "rereading" The Giver by listening to the audio book. I recently read Gathering Blue, but I wanted to refresh my memory of The Giver before I read Messenger, because I read that elements of the first two come together in this last companion. Sad that the book is disapproved of by some--I think they must be missing the whole point!

  4. I literally just finished The Giver about 5 minutes ago. It was fantastic. I too find it sad that people try to ban this/any book. Like bookgal said, it gives you sooo much to talk about. People can be so afraid sometimes... Are you signing up for the banned book challenge?

    The rest of Lowry's books just quickly made their way onto my TBR pile.

  5. I read this one a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. I haven't read any of the others you mentioned, but I have read Number the Stars and would recommend it.