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Author: Lowry, Lois
Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.70
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 8568
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.90
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 04535
|Reading Counts Disk:|
100 Contemporary Best Sellers 6-8, Disk: M-391-FJ
Grade 6 Favorites - Disk 5, Disk: M-056
Lois Lowry Collection, Disk: M-558-JJ
New Standards Volume 5, Disk: M-142
Newbery Awards For Grades 6-8 - Disk 3, Disk: M-020
TAB Book Club Bestsellers, Disk: M-022
School Library Journal - 05/01/1993 Gr 6-9-- In a complete departure from her other novels, 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 inevitable. 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. --Amy Kellman, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - Copyright 1993 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/15/1993 Lowry once again turns in a new direction; this time to the future. Jonas lives in a world that many of us have longed for. There is no war, poverty, or family turmoil, and so no fear, no hardship, no everyday discontent, no long-term terror. Jonas lives with his father, who's a Nurturer at the childcare center; his mother, who works at the Department of Justice; and his sister, Lily, who is a Six. Jonas himself is soon to be a Twelve, an important age because each year at the annual Ceremony all the 12-years-olds in the community receive their life assignments from the Elders. Jonas is named to the most prestigious and unusual job in the community--the Receiver of Memory. There is only one Receiver, and when he grows old, he trains his successor. Jonas is both puzzled and frightened by his job, which requires him to receive all the memories of their world and the land that lies beyond their community, Elsewhere. Like the falling of night, the story's mood changes almost imperceptibly. Readers lulled by the warmth and safety of the community will find themselves quite surprised as the darkness enfolds them. What the former Receiver, now the Giver, has to tell Jonas rocks the boy's sense of self and turns inside out the life he has known. At first, the Giver offers benign memories--of snow, sunshine, and color, things that existed before the community went to Sameness--and the boy grieves for what has been lost. But soon Jonas receives memories of pain and death, and then he is torn. Perhaps his community's decision to shelter the citizens from the world's sorrow has been correct. Yet by going to Sameness, the community has also eliminated all possibilities for choice and, finally, for happiness. The simplicity and directness of Lowry's writing force readers to grapple with their own thoughts about this dichotomy; though it is clear what the right answer is (and, at times, the narrative lacks subtlety in insisting upon that answer), the allure of a life without pain will give even the least philosophical of readers something to ponder. Lowry forces the point for Jonas when he learns that baby Gabriel, whom the family had been raising, is to be Released. Jonas had always thought Release simply meant going Elsewhere, but now he knows the term's real meaning: the baby will be killed. So to save Gabriel, and with the Giver's help, Jonas decides to flee to Elsewhere. Lowry heightens the tension as Jonas and Gabriel dodge search parties and airplanes, face starvation, and become weaker seeking a better place. Lowry's ending is the most unsatisfying element of the book. Jonas and Gabriel, freezing, starving, very near death, finally see the lights and hear the music of Elsewhere. But have they arrived? Or, as some (mainly adults, perhaps) will wonder--have the children died? With the book's tension level raised so high, readers will want closure, not ambiguity. Anti-Utopian novels have an enduring appeal. This one makes an especially good introduction to the genre because it doesn't load the dice by presenting the idea of a community structured around safety as totally negative. There's a distinctly appealing comfort in sameness that kids--especially junior high kids--will recognize. Yet the choice is clear. Sameness versus freedom, happiness at the risk of pain. Something to talk about. - Copyright 1993 Booklist.