• The Giver

  • By: Lois Lowry
  • Narrated by: Ron Rifkin
  • Length: 4 hrs and 49 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (13,415 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve-year-old receives a life assignment determined by the Elders. Jonas watches his friend Fiona named Caretaker of the Old and his cheerful pal Asher labeled the Assistant Director of Recreation. But Jonas has been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man, the man called only the Giver, he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile perfection of his world.

Told with deceptive simplicity, this is the provocative story of a boy who experiences something incredible and undertakes something impossible. In the telling it questions every value we have taken for granted and reexamines our most deeply held beliefs.

©1993 Lois Lowry (P)1993 Random House, Inc., Listening Library, An Imprint Of Random House Audio Publishing Group

Critic Reviews

Newbery Medal Winner, 1994

"This is a compelling prospect for family listening. Initially Rifkin's voice seems too regional to portray the characters of this utopian/dystopian world, but he convincingly conveys the anticipation of the coming-of-age ceremony of Jonas and his friends. As the meaning of Jonas’ selection as “Receiver of Memory” unfolds, Rifkin’s characterizations become more powerful. Although the story drives the presentation, Rifkin’s juxtaposition of the young boy and the old Giver has tremendous effect. His voice for the Giver becomes increasingly weary and strained while Jonas' gains strength. Sharing this audiobook in a family or a classroom offers a valuable opportunity to respond to and discuss Lowry’s moving novel." (AudioFile magazine)

"A powerful and provocative novel." (The New York Times)
"Lowry is once again in top form...unwinding a tale fit for the most adventurous readers." (Publishers Weekly)
"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." (School Library Journal

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What listeners say about The Giver

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

This guy's mouth makes some serious noises...

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would recommend they read the actual book and skip the audio version. The story is okay, but the quality of the audiobook is not.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Rosemary. She was very brave and noble and I like the mystery behind her past.

What didn’t you like about Ron Rifkin’s performance?

Many of the sentences trailed off rather than ending strong and clear. He also made noises with his mouth. I assume this happens often with actors, but that stuff is usually edited out.

Could you see The Giver being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I guess I could see it. I am not invested enough to guess the cast though.

Any additional comments?

The background music was HORRIBLE! They blasted you out with tacky synth music for EVERY SINGLE significant moment! It took me out of the moment because I was rolling my eyes.

99 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great Story but...

I had read this book as a teenager. I thought I would enjoy it on audio. However, the narration is poor. The whiny voice of Jonas was totally grating and the the narrator did not even bother to read with the inflection when the tone of voice was described with adjectives. Even more annoying, possibly, was the music. I don't even know how I got through this one...if it weren't for my nostalgia, I wouldn't have.

97 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Annoying music

Would you listen to The Giver again? Why?

I'm not planning to listen to this again. I've read the book before and like the story very much, but it was interrupted by strange music at inopportune moments. A great book, but not a very good listening experience.

90 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Going to extremes

This is a great book about going to extremes on many different levels. Like Ender's game and Snow Crash, the youth of today have much to teach us about how to live. This book is simply written with observations about society and the implications of our choices and desires for a perfection. Any age will love this book. My 5th grade little sister recommeded this to me, and I have completed graduate school. I have recommeded this book to my friends of all ages.

42 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Listen as a family

The Giver is a great introduction to utopian novels. It was very interesting listening to the book with my 10 and 11 year olds. Their innocence saw the ending in a completly different way then I did. We had some wonderful family discussions about what a perfect world is or should be. As a family we highly recommend this book for its entertainment value and the discussions it will prompt.

41 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story but the music is very distracting!

Any additional comments?

The music kills me. It randomly comes in for a few minutes then goes away. It's it's loud and distracting. It would be a 5 out of 5 if it didn't have the music.

33 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Music. ugggg

The book is good. but the music.,............ why is there random music every 10 mins. It is not even good music. but it takes you away from the story when it happeneds. i want to speak to the person that put that in and find out why they thought it was a good idea. then i would like to fire them. Just read the book and skip the audio book. it will annoy you.

32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A blast from the past

I read this book when I was in elementary school and I got the audiobook to listen to with my niece. I loved this book when I was little and I was hoping that she would to.

In retrospect, I wish I had just given her the book because I felt the narration lacked something. I remember being very moved by the book and I didn't get that feeling from this. It might have been a combination of the Rifkin's narration and the weird musical interludes.

The Giver is best left to hard copy if you truly want to savor this classic story.

29 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The Best Book I Ever Read

Nobel Prize winner "The Giver", was like that book they make you read in high school that you dread to actually read. It was my english class read. I flipped through it and did my homework trying to skip as much as could and still pass the class; but towards the end of the class I got hooked into it. There are ideas, questions, and answers in this book that just fascinated me as a teenager. Things I sorta flew by trying to do my homework that made me think everytime.

Now, I am a pretty intuitive, highly artistic mind, and once I discovered the real heart behind "The Giver" I swear it was like a door opened to me. I loved every second of it. I remember finishing a chapter and walking around school looking at the other students, teachers, and their responsibilites in a total different light. It was almost as if I was part of a society much like the one in this book where we all wait to know what we are supposed to do, and if you don't keep up you're "released" ... But as the book suggests, and I found out as I grew, being released from the machine might not be all that terrible in the end.

I alarmingly recommend this amazing read for kids and adults alike. I have wondered for ages why are there film versions of "Spiderman", "Jerry Springer", and "The Devil Wears Prada" and not one of this book... Makes one wonder where priorities and film industry goals lie. Anyhow! Listen to this! Will make feel free!

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

High Hopes Left Me Disappointed

I had really high hopes for this book. I am a big fan of YA Dystopian novels, and I'd heard this book was really one of the important ones in the genre.

I felt like the beginning of this book was really good, I liked where it was going, it had an interesting setting...but about 3/4 through it felt like the author gave up and just wanted it to end. It left way too many loose ends, and just sort of ended.

I wasn't a huge fan of the narrator, but he did not bother me.

20 people found this helpful

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