Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Giver by Lois Lowry and a few little wahoos

The Giver by Lois Lowry
Copyright 1993
Laurel Leaf - YA/Futuristic/Newbery Medalist
180 pages
Finished 2/6/08

What led you to pick up this book? I've wanted to read this book for eons (especially since the recent reading of several terrific blog reviews, although my youngest highly recommended it a number of years ago). However, I had no idea where my son's copy was hiding. I began to read it the day after I located it during a completely unrelated book-seeking mission with the kiddo.

Summarize the plot but don't give away the ending. Jonas lives a comfortable, happy life in a community without any suffering and where everyone has a profession chosen for them. Those who don't fit in or who become too old are "released". But, when Jonas turns 12 and is told he will become the Receiver of Memories, he learns the true meaning of pain and pleasure from the aging Giver, a man who is in anguish from carrying the burden of all of the Community's past memories. When Jonas find out the truth, he must make a dangerous choice. Will he have the courage to make a decision that will change things forever?

What did you like most about the book? I'm having trouble figuring out what to say to this question. I can come up with a lot of adjectives to describe how I felt about the book, but none of them seem quite right. What makes the book wonderful, I ask myself? I think, perhaps, its humanity. The thought that if life were to become an experience that was free of fear or pain it might also become flat and meaningless is an interesting concept. What is life without pain or pleasure? Ah, there you go. The Giver is a book that makes you ponder, question, compare and observe . . . a book worth discussing.

What did you think of the characters? I was very fond of Jonas. The Giver, the old man who taught Jonas, was a little difficult to warm up to, but eventually he began to make sense. And, Jonas' family seemed warm and loving, the baby Gabriel that they cared for a charmer. But, there were stories beneath each of those characters; and, it was Jonas -- his strength and his refusal to let what he'd learned become meaningless -- that really jumped out.

Share a favorite scene from the book: Although the ending is left a bit open-ended, it's the part I really love best. Unfortunately, I can't say a thing without ruining the ending for anyone who hasn't read the book.

In general: An absolutely gripping, amazing story of courage and the meaning of human experience. I loved this book!

An aside: There was a point, during the reading of this book, that I became a little bored. I can't remember what the deal was -- whether I thought things were not moving fast enough, it had become a tad repetitive, or I was just sleepy. But, I shoved onward, thank goodness. That bit of ennui only lasted for a few pages; things began to change quickly after I told myself to just keep reading. The Giver is an excellent book and well deserving of its Newbery Medal, in my humble opinion.

I keep thinking I'll get back to rating with numbers, but they're still making my head hurt. So, thumbs up.

So far, this has been a terrific reading month, both quality- and quantity-wise. I'm trying to churn reviews out as quickly as possible, but now and then it rains outside (when it rains inside, you're in trouble). And, when it rains --outside, of course-- I have no choice but to read until I'm cross-eyed. Those are the rules. I'm again, therefore, 5 book reviews behind.

Reviews forthcoming:
Point Blank by Anthony Horowitz
The Night Lives On by Walter Lord
A Hawaiian Reader, Vol. 1, ed. by A. Grove Day and Carl Stroven
The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo

Finished, but you'll have to wait for an Estella review:
Cotillion by Georgette Heyer

Just walked in the door:
The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly (Thanks, Paula!!!)
Time Was Soft There by Jeremy Mercer (PBS, I heart you)
and this gem from the library sale:

I don't have any surfaces that are that ugly, just FYI; the photo was taken our light-drenched but vaguely tacky library basement (like I care if it looks like the Taj Mahal or . . . a basement). Here, read a little. Be my guest:

Very wahooey find, don't you think?

Here's another wahoo, a harbinger of spring:

And, something of interest . . . the reason Vicksburg used to be nicknamed "The San Francisco of the South" (which also may at least partially explain why very few people own vehicles with manual transmissions):

Seriously wahooey; every town should have one of these:

Sleep well, my pretties.

Bookfool in The City with the Hot Pink Gorilla


  1. Oh....I loved The Giver when I read it last year!! You are right though...there was a point when I was just a teensy bored with the whole thing. But it really came on in the end. Glad you liked it!!

  2. Oh, good, I'm not the only one. What a relief. :)

  3. Thanks for the wahoos-they gave me a little pick me up! :)

  4. You're welcome, Eva. Knowing they gave you a lift gives me a warm fuzzy. :)

  5. Ya know, I love it when you ramble silly. It always makes me laugh and that, my friend, is a great ability to have.

    The Giver is on my list. Somewhere.

    And I've run out of things to say about your photos - even the silly ones. They're great.


  6. Oh! I completely forgot to comment on your daffodil! They're my favorite spring flower and I am green-eyed with jealousy over the fact that you have them in bloom already and mine are under 3 feet of snow!!


  7. Yeah, here I am again...

    But this time you're it!

    Come see the non-fiction meme I was tagged for.


  8. CJ, CJ and CJ,

    Some would call that rambling a reason for the guys in white coats to come take me away. I'm glad it makes you laugh. You don't have to say anything about the photos. :)

    The Giver's a quick read. I'd check it out from the library, if you can.

    I only have one daffodil on the verge of blooming; those are my neighbors' daffodils. I'm wondering what he did to make them bloom like crazy. Maybe not planting beneath a couple of 100-year-old oaks would help. Next time.

    Oh, dear. I've been tagged. I keep forgetting to duck and run. Thanks, I'll check it out. :)

  9. The Giver is one of my all-time favorite books. I liked it a lot when I first read it, but I came to love it after using it in my 6th grade for many years. It is such a powerful idea book, and I loved the discussions my students would have about it. And I think you nailed it on the head when you said you liked it because of its "humanity." Perfect word. Now you must read the 2 sequels: Gathering Blue, which is about the importance of Art in a community; and Messenger, which ties up all the loose ends of The Giver!

  10. I loved The Giver, too. I think I gave it a perfect 10 when I read it a dozen or so years ago. Glad you enjoyed it!

    Are daffodils really blooming in your neck of the woods? Already?? No fair! When I left work an hour ago, there was a sheet of ice on my windows. It's currently 18 (and dropping). We won't see any flowers for another 6-8 weeks, at least!

    I started The Winter Rose ten days ago and I'm only on page 180 (of 700)!! This is going to be a one-book month, me thinks. :)

  11. Glad you enjoyed The Giver! It was one of my favorite reads last year...I've learned that I really love the Newbery winners...they're all so great! Jonas was such a great character. Can't wait to read some more Lowry.

    And I can't wait for your review of The Tiger Rising! Loved that one too! I've loved everything by DiCamillo. Her stories are so good.

    I think I need a big pink gorilla for my that would cheer me up whenever I was having a bad day ;) Or I can just come over to your blog!

  12. Robin,

    Thank you. I had trouble coming up with the right word, so I'm glad you feel like I hit the concept well. I can imagine discussion about that book would be really lively; there is so much worth chatting about.

    Guess what? I checked out Gathering Blue, yesterday! :)

  13. Les,

    Well, I'm still objecting to numbers, but I wouldn't take off much for that part where I got a little daydreamy -- maybe 1/2 a point out of 5. Maybe. The Giver is an awfully thought-provoking novel.

    Yes, daffodils are blooming, as are the Japanese magnolias. The clover is going hog wild, but the grass is still pondering (thank God for small miracles -- it won't be long before we're back to mowing). And, I'm sneezing my head off. Honestly, I'd rather be in your shoes. Or, boots.

    I haven't started The Winter Rose, yet, because I just dived into The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles (again) and Waiting to Surface. They both made me feel a little weary. It seems I still don't quite have my concentration back. Or, maybe I'm just that light of brain. Okay, no. Stop. We won't go there. :)

  14. Hey Chris,

    I know your review was one of those reviews I mentioned -- you really had me salivating. Okay, not quite salivating but certainly watching for kiddo's copy of the book. Thanks; I'm so glad you gave me a nudge. I think I originally passed on it, many years ago, because of the dreary cover. I'm going to sound like Will in About a Boy when I tell you I really am that shallow.

    I just checked out Gathering Blue and plan to read that one in the next week or so. Did you read Robin's comment? Now, see, you have to read it, too.

    I'm still pondering The Tiger Rising. There were things I liked about it, but it might have been just a bit too sad for the moment. I loved the housekeeper and the fact that the kid carved. It made me want to find a piece of wood and a knife. But, then I thought about all the blood and changed my mind.

    Oh, heck, just save a copy of the gorilla pic and you can look at it whenever you want. It's a real upper, isn't it? You can't look at a thing like that and *not* smile. He's been much beloved for years, that gorilla. A few years back, I'm pretty sure they took him down and there was a hue and a cry. "Bring back our hot pink gorilla!" Life is such a hoot.

  15. Anonymous6:20 PM

    I had a stick shift until years ago. The bad part was when the rest of the world went to automatics and would crawl right on my tail. Back. Up.

    Not reading your review....not reading your review....not reading your review.....(see Anonymous Lawyer)

  16. Carrie,

    My Toyota is a stick shift and, yep, people do that. On hills. Big, big hills. I'm quite good at moving the old foot from brake to gas, but it's still unnerving.

    Heh. Good luck. Methinks I know you too well for that. ;)

  17. Well, that is one red gorilla! I think "humanity" is a great work to use. I had a tough time, as well, putting my thoughts into words (which happens too frequently). Glad you liked this one. I took it over to my brother to read only to find out he HAS to read it for school. I was very excited about that. :)

  18. Trish,

    Yes, that gorilla is a bit loud in his coloring. Of course, it's probably just that uniqueness that everyone loves.

    It's especially difficult to put feelings into words when you feel strongly about a great book and want to do it justice, isn't it? How cool that your brother has to read it. It will be a fun one for the two of you to discuss, I'm sure!


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