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The Enigma of Choice: A Review of “The Giver Quartet” by Lois Lowry

book review

“The Giver Quartet” is a series of four books by Lois Lowry that explores themes of dystopia, utopia, and the power of memory. The series begins with “The Giver,” where we meet Jonas, a young boy living in a seemingly perfect, yet colorless world. He is selected for the special job of the “Receiver of Memory” and becomes the apprentice to The Giver, an old man who holds all the memories of the world before it became a uniform, emotionless society.

In the subsequent books, “Gathering Blue,” “Messenger,” and “Son,” Lowry expands her world beyond Jonas’s community and tells the stories of different characters grappling with the complexities of their own societies, which, like Jonas’s, are flawed attempts at utopia.

Notable Quotes:

  1. “The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.” – The Giver
  2. “Take pride in your pain; you are stronger than those who have none.” – Gathering Blue
  3. “There’s much more. There’s all that goes beyond – all that is Elsewhere – and all that goes back, and back, and back. I received all of those, when I was selected. And here in this room, all alone, I re-experience them again and again. It is how wisdom comes. And how we shape our future.” – The Giver

My Review

“The Giver Quartet” is a masterclass in world-building. Lois Lowry crafts a dystopian universe that is uniquely her own, yet echoes with elements that readers will find hauntingly familiar. The societies she creates, seemingly utopian on the surface, reveal their dystopian nature as the characters and readers delve deeper.

Each book in the series offers a different perspective, allowing readers to explore the world Lowry has created in a more comprehensive way. The characters and their struggles are relatable and stir a great deal of empathy in the reader. Through their eyes, Lowry explores complex themes like the power and burden of memory, the importance of individuality, and the cost of a false utopia.

Lowry’s writing style is simple yet powerful, with a clear, relatable voice that carries you through the story. She expertly weaves the dystopian setting with the coming-of-age narrative, leaving the reader with much to ponder about our society and the human condition.


4.5 out of 5

Author Bio

Lois Lowry is a highly acclaimed American author known for her versatile and prolific output, which spans across various genres. She’s best known for her work in children’s literature, particularly the dystopian young adult series, “The Giver Quartet”. Lowry has won two Newbery Medals for her work in children’s literature, and her books explore complex themes such as racism, terminal illness, and the Holocaust, often through the lens of children and young adults.

Study or Book Club Questions

  1. What parallels can you draw between the societies in “The Giver Quartet” and our own world?
  2. How does each character’s personal journey reflect on the broader themes of the series?
  3. What does the series say about the idea of a utopia?
  4. How does Lois Lowry explore the idea of individuality versus conformity?
  5. How does the role of memory play out across the series?
  6. What is the impact of the first-person narrative style in bringing out the story’s themes?

Where to Buy

The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry on Amazon

The Giver Quartet Books in Order

  1. The Giver (1993)
  2. Gathering Blue (2000)
  3. Messenger (2004)
  4. Son (2012)

The Giver Movie Adaptation

The first book in the series, “The Giver,” was adapted into a movie in 2014 starring Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, and Meryl Streep. The film captures the essence of Lowry’s dystopian world, bringing to life the colorless, emotionless society of Jonas. However, it received mixed reviews from critics and fans. Some praised its faithful interpretation of the source material, while others felt it failed to fully explore the novel’s complex themes. Despite the mixed reviews, the movie provides an interesting visual interpretation of Lowry’s world that fans might find intriguing.

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