The Giver Lois Lowry Retro Friday Review

The Giver by Lois Lowry has always been one of my favorite books. I remember reading it when I was in elementary school and being completely captivated by it. It made me think in a way that I really hadn’t before, and I feel as if it definitely left a mark on me a young child – a mark that is still with me even today. When I found out that Lois Lowry was going to be at the BEA Children’s Authors Breakfast, I immediately jumped at the chance to hear her speak, and let me tell you I am more than thankful that I did. The woman is amazing. She is so intelligent, and well spoken, and there was a real message in the words that she spoke at BEA. She made me cry. I loved every second that I got to witness her speak, and was more than willing to give her a standing ovation when she was finished.

The Giver Lois Lowry Book Cover

Flash forward to a little while later after I had returned home, I came across an audio version of The Giver read by Ron Rifkin. I knew that I had to take it out, and give it a listen. It had been a good while since I had had anything to do with the story, and I knew that it was definitely time for a refresher course. From the moment I first put on my headphones and started the story, I was pulled into it. All of sudden everything was coming back to me again, and the more I got into it, the more I fell in love with it all over again.  If you’ve never read or heard of The Giver before (shame on you), here is the short version:  Jonas lives in a world that is perceived to be “perfect”, where everything is under control, and where nobody has the freedom to make their own choices. All decisions are made by the Community, and they are never questioned. When Jonas turns twelve, it is revealed that he has been selected to receive special training from a man referred to as The Giver. The Giver is the one who holds the true memories of life – the pain and the pleasure – and now it is time for Jonas to receive the truth.  And once he does, there is no turning back.

When I first read The Giver, I was younger and did not have very much life experience but the book touched me in a way that I was never able to forget. Now at the time of this re-read I’m twenty five years old. I have a little bit of life experience. I’ve finished high school, gone to college, and gone to graduate school. I’ve made friends and I’ve lost friends. I’ve made plenty of memories, choices, and mistakes. And my dad passed away. Regardless of the stage of my life that I’m in at the time that I’ve read the story, I honestly think I’ve come to the same conclusion every time. I would NEVER want to live in a world like Jonas did.

Why? Because I value my memories, choices, and mistakes. I value the fact that I have had people to share these things with. I value the fact that I have an education. I value the fact that I don’t have people telling me what to do, or how I am supposed to live my life. I value the fact that I can actually see things such as color, and feel things such as rain and snow. I value the fact that I had a father, and that he was an amazing man, and that I will miss him for the rest of my life. And yes even though it hurts like hell sometimes, I would never want to give up missing my father for anything. The same thing with my grandfather who passed away when I was three and a half years old. I just can’t imagine ever wanting to live in a world without these things no matter how “perfect” it may sound.

What I think I love most about The Giver is the way that it makes me think and the way that it makes me feel. I have so many emotions after re-reading it. Emotions that I should be grateful for having because I am able to express them, talk about them, and write a review about what made me feel this way. One of my favorite quotes is:

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”

One of the reasons why I love being a part of the book blogging community so much is that we get to discuss things and it is not only limited to books. Our personal lives slip into our conversations and our posts. I mean, in this post alone I’ve told you personal things about me, and I feel completely comfortable doing that. I want to be able to share those moments with people, especially if I’m able to do it while discussing a book!

For me, The Giver is a timeless story. The way that it is crafted will always take my breath away. Lois Lowry faces the themes of choice, life, and death head on, and makes the journey completely worthwhile. I was completely glued to the story through the impeccable narration of the audiobook just like I was glued to the pages of the physical book when I was younger. I do plan on reading the rest of the books in the series (which I didn’t even know was a series until this year) but I have a strong feeling that the first one will stick with me for a very long time to come. If you have never read it before, I sincerely urge you to give it a try.

Disclaimer: Borrowed from local library

Other reviews of The Giver by Lois Lowry:

Annette’s Book Spot: “You really barely catch your breath from the first page to the last. And, the last page leaves many questions as well. Then, you close the book and start thinking….”

The Cozy Armchair: “The Giver. When I think about this book, the rush of emotions I feel varies from nostalgia to happiness, from happiness to sadness.”

Book Journey: “The Giver is one of those books that I would say need to be on everyone’s book bucket list.”

Reading For Sanity: “A fantastic read! One of my all-time favorite books for young or old.”

Retro Friday Reviews are hosted by Angieville & is an awesome meme/feature where you review an older or under the radar book on Fridays.

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Allison is 27 years old. She is always looking for new books, good music, quality/epic adventures, and a normal sleep schedule. She currently works with the elderly.


  1. Seeing Lois Lowry speak this summer was amazing – I cried, too. The Giver has been one of my favourite books for ages, and you capture it spot on with this review. Love this book, so much.

  2. Oh, Allison. I will have to re-read The Giver soon as well, your review really makes me want to. Didn’t we read this in 6th grade? When we were like in the same team/block of 6th grade classes?

  3. I find it kinda hilarious that there’s this old man with a beard on a children’s book. That would never fly today, no?

  4. I recently read this for the first time! I know, that’s horrible. But I thought it was timeless, as you did. Enjoyed it very much. Great thoughts. I’m going to read Son very soon.

  5. I never read this book when I was younger, but my book club read it last month! I do wish I had read it when I was younger just to see how my feelings and interpretation of it had changed. I’m sure a lot of the book wouldn’t have had the same impact on me when I was younger. It was a great read for book club though and sparked lots of discussion. Did you read the rest of the series? I’m curious now to keep on reading them…

  6. That’s a lovely review, I think I’m going to make the purpose to finally read this book next year!! Maybe I’ll try the audio too

  7. April, shame on me because I don’t think I’ve read this… I am sure I did as a kid but I have no strong memories of it but one of my co-bloggers loves it and now your review is just telling me I need to read this because I love a book that can make me think.

  8. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never read this. After also seeing LL’s amazing speech at the author’s breakfast I knew I had to read it soon. Hopefully I’ll get a copy for Christmas.

  9. Wow, April is right, you make me want to read it.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. I’ve never read this. Never even heard of it until I started blogging. Pathetic, I know. Hangs head. Lol. I do definitely plan on getting around to it one of these days.

  11. I love The Giver so, so much. Wonderful review – I agree with basically everything you’ve stated here! I value having certain freedoms in my life that perhaps I’ve taken for granted. I know it always bothered me that the elders just decided what occupations the people will have to whom they’ll form a family with to when they’ll die. So creepy. And it’s continued to affect me more than basically any other dystopian I’ve read since. I wish I could listen to Lois Lowry speak – what an amazing experience! Although I love The Giver, however, I’m not sure I’ll ever continue with the series. It’s just perfection in itself, so I don’t really want or need to know what happens next.

  12. I really, really need to read this book. I have no excuses, as I already have my own copy – I just need to set aside the time to start it. It sounds like just the type of book I could like, and I can’t believe that I’ve never read it yet! I hope I get to it in 2013. Your review has convinced me that it DEFINITELY needs to be prioritized.