All member reviews for The Giver, Book 1

Common Sense Media says

A riveting utopian novel that's expertly crafted.

Users say

(out of 327 reviews)
age 11+
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Teen, 13 years old Written byConsiderItRead October 26, 2011

Unbelivably Enlightning.

I can't belive how shallow the parents on this website are being. I am a 13 year old in my 8th grade year, and I appear to be more understanding than these adults are about this book. The Stirrings are NOT sexually inappropriate-remember that this book is for teens, who are going through puberty. My amazing 8th grade teacher explained the reason why the releasing of unfit children is understandable. "I worked in a Special Ed. class for about 3 years, and throughout that time, I met a child. He was disfigured and nobody liked to be around him. Everyday, he would ask me 'Why? Why would they let me live?' and I realized that he was in intense pain. It would be better to have killed the child, rather than selfishly having him live through life, unable to reproduce, unable to make real friends or live a normal life and constantly in pain." Although I don't agree with killing children, I can understand certain circumstances. Another point she brought up was: "If you saw an animal on the side of the street, it's legs squished to the ground because of being ran over by a car and its stomach bleeding, which of these would you do: Try to save the dog, or put it out of it's misery?" After discussion, our class ended our discussion, most of us deciding to save the dog. She wisely told us, "I would kill the dog. You know why? Because that animal is in PAIN. Even after surgury or whatever, it would still live with that constant pain, for the rest of its life until it died a painful death." This all applies to The Giver. This book is not 'Sick' or 'Inappropriate', its REAL. This book shows us dehumanization-when killing babies is a matter that is disreguarded as important and just a lifestyle. Birthmothers not given any glory is also understandable. In this 'perfect' society, they are taught about things at a young age and they believe it. Lois Lowry is not implying that giving birth is a job meant for the unintelligent, she's just saying that in this 'perfect' society, that is just how people think about it because of false facts. For the parents out there that believe that this book is teaching us children that it is ok to stick a needle in children who are unfit for society, THIS IS NOT THE CASE. Do you parents honestly think that after reading about releasing, we went to our next periods saying that all of the Special Ed. kids should just go die? Of course not. Please open your eyes and give this book the chance that it deserves. Don't be so foolish as to let your children miss out on this literary treasure. This novel is truely my favorite, and I'm sure that many more will come to love it. Keep on writing, Lois Lowry. <3
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 5, 8, and 11 year old Written byAvid book reader May 28, 2010
This book beautifully illustrates why God gave us freedom of choice. Yes, our freedom has resulted in a world full of people who, at times, have and continue to make bad choices that have caused pain and suffering. Yes, through our freedom we have slowly destroyed the incredible world the Lord has created for us. But the alternative which is skillfully portrayed in The Giver, is terrifying. This is a book that every christian child 10+ should read and discuss with their parents. It is a very thought provoking book and a lot can be gleaned from it. There are some disturbing scenes, but isn't life a little disturbing at times? I would recommend that this book be saved till your child can fully understand it and will be able to handle some of the disturbing scenes
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old February 20, 2011

Don't be Afraid to feel.

Comparing my review to others you may be wondering why I haven't decided to put the sexual behavior sign. Well, because it isn't necessary. Why you may ask? Well, this book has been made for kids going through puberty. Don't you understand, sexual thoughts, fitting into your community those ideas are put in the book so tweens can feel empathy towards the main character Jonas. As a becoming teen I can understand in some ways how the main character feels. One most see that this story lets you know its okay for those feelings, one as a human must cope with them. The realsing of people is horrible and many things the community were Jonas lives are but they show the world isn't heaven and as a parent you can't hide a child from it. The longer you try to keep them in a bubble it will be more shocking to them to meet the REAL world. I personally do not understand the mother how disliked the book so much but I feel that she did have her reasons, though they seem quit meaningless to me. You need to decided if the book is right for you're living style. But I'll let you know if it is there is one thing that it will teach you and leave in printed in your skin. Don't be Afraid to feel. To wonder? To challenge the world. For all those great characters such as Gandhi or Martin Luther King, that is what they did.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byloverbeans March 23, 2009

People misunderstand this Book

I was appalled by a couple reviews on The Giver. People write reviews stating that this book encourages murder and glorifies the death of babies! It does quite the opposite. Yes, the book is very descriptive when it describes the death of a certain child. This description is not meant to glorify death, but rather evoke an emotional response AGAINST this treatment of babies who are flawed. The entire scene was created in order to show the absurdity of it all. This book is not about making kids EXCITED about the death scene. People who write that this novel teaches children that killing flawed people is acceptable are ridiculously mistaken and probably haven't read the entire book. I imagine they most likely skimmed two or three pages and decided what the book was about without any consideration of the actual content. This book teaches children the importance of every individual's life, no matter the flaws. It shows kids that getting rid of differences for the sake of a more peaceful community is not worth it. It teaches us all of the real problem...the inability of society to accept differences. The prescence of differences would not be a problem if everyone could accept them, and we cannot live a whole existence supressing our humanity, as this book brilliantly suggests.
Parent of a 11 year old Written bymomthatcares January 7, 2011

INAPPROPRIATE AND SICK

My 6th grade son is in the process of reading this book. I am so thankful that he feels comfortable enough to come to me with this. I am only up to the 7th chapter and have found it to be sexually inappropriate "BIG TIME". I am not against talking about sex with my children at all. This book portrays the job of childbearing as only for the unintelligent and makes "stirrings" of a pre-teen inappropriate and bad (not natural). To read the reviews and hear that I am going to be reading about a father injecting a baby because it is "unfit" it beyond disgusting to me. I am not a fighting parent but this will definately be an issue on Monday morning. With all the beautiful books a child can read...... To have a young child read this book with no follow up discussion is so irresponsible. The book is just SICK!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Parent of a 12 year old Written bytruthfultilhecomes April 24, 2010

keep it away from the kid's

I think this book is just another example of society gone astray. How can we allow books that teach our kid's that it is ok to stick a needle in the head of a baby to kill. Wake up America we are losing them
What other families should know
Too much sex
Parent of a 8 and 11 year old Written byeye on kids March 29, 2010

Could stimulate much emotion in older kids and lead to great book dicussion and debate. NOT appropriate for kids under 14.

This book more than alludes to sensitive social issues such as genocide, euthanasia, suicide, and self medicating for the supression of "feelings". Although this book can lead to some very intense discussions and interpretations, children age 10/11 have not had enough life experience and formal education to knowledgebly and conscientiosly express their own moral and ethical ideals when discussing the sensitive issues brought forward in the book. Very graphic scenes of a man injecting a baby with a poison solution and watching it die, while speaking lovingly. Graphic and detailed description of a suicide of the previous "reciever" as her escape from pain. If made into a movie, it would be rated "R" because of the graphicness of these events as portrayed in the book.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of an infant, 2, and 13 year old Written bytracideniece January 20, 2009

PARENTS PLEASE LOOK AT WHAT YOUR CHILDREN ARE BEING EXPOSED TO!!!

I have never been so shocked at a children's book. This is not appropriate reading for a child under 15 and it is required in my daughter's 7th grade advanced reading class. After reading some of the reviews here and the young ages of the children exposed to the graphic details in this book, I am appalled. To describe the details of putting a poison filled needle in a newborn's soft spot "because his veins are too teeny-weeny" and then watching it twitch and jerk until it dies is not something to take lightly. Then the baby is wrapped up and put into a garbage chute. Yes kid's think the book is great because it is very shocking and instructors like it because the child will read it...but, PARENTS DO YOU REALLY WANT YOUR CHILDREN TO BE READING THIS???
Parent of a 6 and 11 year old Written byconcernedNAparent May 14, 2009

Not appropriat efor 11 yr olds - maybe 15 yr olds

This site is not looking at the content if it thinks this book is OK for 11 year olds/5th graders. The 2 objectionable parts are sex and infanticide. Sex: This is not appropriate imagery for 11 year olds to read: “”I wanted her to take off her clothes and get into the tub. I wanted to bathe her… The wanting. I knew that she wouldn’t. and I think I knew that she shouldn’t. But I wanted it so terribly. I could feel the wanting all through me.” The dream had felt pleasurable. Though the feelings were confused, he thought that he has liked the feelings his mother had called Stirrings. He remembered that upon waking, he had wanted to feel the Stirrings again.” Infanticide: One passage describes infanticide performed on a "less than adequate" baby: "He pushed the plunger very slowly, injecting the liquid into the scalp vein until the syringe was empty. . . . As he continued to watch, the newchild [sic], no longer crying, moved his arms and legs in a jerking motion. Then he went limp. He [sic] head fell to the side, his eyes half open. Then he was still." Disturbing for me as a parent and not appropriate for 5th graders.
Teen, 17 years old Written bywereallmadhere May 25, 2011

this novel is amazing and if you disagree, you don't understand the book

first of all, if you have not read this book entirely, you shouldn't have an opinion about it. this book is simple and direct. the storyline is that you need to find out the truth and make your own decisions. freedom is prohibited in Jonas's society which is why he runs away at the end. HE RUNS AWAY. the book does NOT glorify the slightly communistic dystopian ways of the society. the whole point is to reject the mechanical and heartless world that is portrayed. yes, Jonas has somewhat sexual dreams, but that is natural for everyone and the society gives him pills to suppress the urges which adds to the inhuman methods that rule the community. and yes they kill a baby by lethal injection. this is the last straw for Jonas and the main reason he decides to leave the only place he has ever known, saving another baby named Gabriel in the process. you may think this is inappropriate for some, but children see murders, child abduction, rape and killings on the news and in newspapers everyday. at least The Giver can contrast our society with the fictional one created to let readers see the differences and appreciate that what they have been given is the same thing Jonas is fighting for.
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written bybgambi2 June 18, 2011

Perfect Book for Kids Discovering Themselves

I do not have children, however I am a nanny to 3. The oldest is starting 5th grade and will read the book, among others, for me this summer. This book has violence. It has sexual content. It is about a supposed utopian community that has some of the most horrible values that it makes you want to rip it apart in anger. That is exactly why we should let these kids read it. So there's violence. What 5th grader hasn't seen harry potter, transformers, iron man, or any other movie? Kids these days love action movies and shows where the good guy conquers over evil and does a little butt kicking while he's at it. But 5th graders also need to figure out things on their own, for example: what is good? what is evil? how can something that was supposed to be good turn out to be evil? The Giver helps them discover for themselves what they believe is right as they discover more about how the book's society works. As far as the sexual content, its a boy going through puberty. Kids know what that's like. They know the confusion and the uncertainty that comes along with it. Parents say this book steers kids away from talking about puberty, but if parents are open and available yet not pushy then their kids shouldn't have a problem just because of this book. I didn't think twice about how it affected my life when i read it...i only ever thought about how strange the parents in the book were to close puberty discussions. And those horrible opinions i mentioned before? Killing unneeded babies, treating birth mothers as lazy, killing the old when they are no longer of use. These are all ideas similar to our own world: abortion, euthanasia, the modern working woman v.s. june cleaver. kids discover these all on their own soon enough, with the world telling them what to think on this subject and that. but with The Giver, as i said before, they are able to make their own decisions and feel their own feelings.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Parent of a 11 year old Written bymom45 March 11, 2011

Not appropriate for tweens

Did not like the book at all. My child was asked to read it in 6th grade and she as well as several of her friends found it troubling. The age and maturity of the reader should be considered with this book. Children who are 14 and younger may have difficulty finding a meaningful and accurate interpretation of the material. There are many lessons for children to learn and they should come at the right time. In my opinion the Giver is for High School and older.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 13 years old Written byILoveView June 25, 2010
This is the worst book I have ever read! This book makes no sense to me.
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written bymomwhoteaches February 8, 2010
There overall message about choices was good but there was a suicide and members who were no longer useful were "released" or killed. This process was vividly described with regard to a newborn baby. I found this disturbing for children.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written bycorrabella May 3, 2010

Sorta bad

The book was not very well written. It had a poor ending that did not make sense to me. The book is sorta interesting, but not really.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 13 years old Written byAshleyMarie13 April 15, 2010

One of the most amazing books I have ever read.

I hate Science Fiction, I hate fantasy. And its weird how my two hatreds came together and gave me an amazing story to read. My 7th grade class was assigned to read the book, and while everyone was falling asleep with boredom, I absolutely fell in love with the book. Chapter by chapter. This book can be quite confusing at points and some of the time I had to even ask my teacher what was going on, but all in all this book was great. I don't suggest it to MOST preteens considering my entire class, plus the other 3 classes that read it thought it was boring. It's all pretty much based on your maturity level.This book gives us an idea of how perfect our world really is. I am thankful that I read this book, it open my eyes to a lot of things I have never thought of before. This is surely a book you'll never forget.
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 11 year old Written bykierelle February 9, 2009

Disastrous!!!!!!

From now on I am previewing books my daughter reads in the future. Had I known the severity of the detail of the infants death I would never have let my daughter continue it. As a result of it, she coincidently vomited in class after reading that particular part. It is not her fault nor can she help her heightened sensitivity to the frailties of life and mortality. I urge parents to preview what their children read, especially if you have an ultrasensitive child like mine.
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

INCREDIBLE!!

This is my all-time favorite book, I've read it 5 times. This is definatley a book for more mature tweens or teens. I thought SO much during this book. It has so much thought and wonder. I understood it much better after reading it for the 2nd time, as I first read it as a young 10 year old. It made me mad, (although that might not be the right word) to see that the characters never had feelings, and that the commitee tried to make it seem as if they did with "the Sharing of Feelings", a time during evening-meal where everybody would share their "feelings" then be comforted and once again, be happy. I felt SOO much during this book! LOVED it!
Parent of a 2 year old Written byLuzita January 23, 2009

Simply Amazing

I read the book in fifth grade and I simply loved the it. It was scary how people were content with having their rights taken away and living lives that were chosen for them. Everyone wants a world where there is no war or diseases but at what cost? I will definately let my child read this book once they turn 10.
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

PLEASE IGNORE THE NEGATIVE COMMENTS

NO book on planet Earth can portray the great message of this one. There is nothing in appropriate unless you don't allow 1 small natural infatuation. Jonas(main) has a small dream where is female friend seems attractive to him but NOTHING ELSE! I swear! This book get 5 thumbs up!

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