Giver Audiobook Summary
Lois Lowry’s The Giver is the quintessential dystopian novel, followed by its remarkable companions, Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.
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.
Giver Audiobook Reviews
After reading Lois Lowry’s memoirs, I decided to go back and read several of her books — The Giver and Number the Stars. The Giver is deeply profound and it addresses some weighty topics, but it is presented in an accessible format and language that would make it appropriate for middle schoolers. The prose is simple, not at all flower or preachy, and it allows the reader to have her own response to the actions, rather than dictating a response. The story is told in third person, but from the perspective of Jonas, who begins the novel as an 11-year-old-boy, eager and apprehensive to learn what life has in store for him. Jonas lives in a highly controlled, highly planned, rule-laden community, where no one experiences pain or war, bullying is nonexistent, and perfectly matched parents with one-boy one-girl family units share their dreams and feelings around the dinner table. Children, born to designated Birthmothers, progress in the community in lock step manner. In annual ceremonies, all Ones are given names and presented to their families, Sevens are given jackets that button up the from, and Eights get pockets on their jackets and start their community service work. Nines get bicycles. At Ten, all the girls have their long braids cut, and the boys got more adult haircuts. In the Ceremony of Twelve, the Twelves are given their life-time occupational assignments, as chosen by the elders of the community. Jonas’s father, for example, is a Nurturer, caring for newborns who have not yet been assigned to a family. Jonas’s mother works in the justice department.
At the Ceremony of Twelve, children are given their assignments one by one — Engineer, Doctor, Birthmother, Caregiver — but Jonas is not called. At the end of the ceremony, he learns that he has been chosen to be The Receiver. His responsibility will be to act as a repository of all of the knowledge of the past as retained by a single person in the community. As the current Receiver is growing old, the comment needs to designate a new Receiver to preserve knowledge. In this role, Jonas is exposed to a variety of books for the first time. He learns about pain, empathy, war, and more. He begins to experience some discomfort with the rituals of his community — particularly with how the elderly and certain nonconforming members are “released” from the community. One particularly disturbing incident occurs when Jonas watches his father deal with newborn twins. In the end, of course, Jonas comes to realize that this Utopian society is not all it is cracked up to be and finds a way to change his own path.
The book does leave you wanting more, but it also leaves you thinking about what might happen next, and how each of us have some power to control our own destiny.
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