BOOK SUMMARY: In a complete departure from her other novels, Lois Lowry has written an
intriguing story set in a society that is uniformly run by a Committee of Elders. Twelve-year-old
Jonas's confidence in his comfortable "normal" existence as a member of this well-ordered
community is shaken when he is assigned his life's work as the Receiver. The Giver, who passes
on to Jonas the burden of being the holder for the community of all
memory "back and back and back," teaches him the cost of living in an environment that
is "without color, pain, or past."
The tension leading up to the Ceremony, in which children are promoted not to
another grade but to another stage in their life, and the drama and responsibility of
the sessions with The Giver are gripping. The final flight for survival is as riveting as it is
The author makes real abstract concepts, such as the meaning of a life in which there are
virtually no choices to be made and no experiences with deep feelings. This tightly plotted
story and its believable characters will stay with readers for a long time.