The Giver



Lois Lowry was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1937. Lowry was an “Army brat” who moved around frequently as a child and young adult. She lived in Japan and many other countries. Eventually, Lowry decided to attend Brown University in the United States, and she became a writing major. However, she decided to leave college early in order to get married. The marriage produced four children, but Lowry and her husband eventually divorced. Her children became the main inspiration for Lowry’s creative work. After some time away, Lowry completed her college degree at the University of Maine. She earned a living as a housekeeper but kept writing. She enjoyed writing for young adults and often used her children as inspiration. Additionally, Lowry took portraits of children and wrote textbooks to supplement her income.

Lowry became a very prolific and accomplished writer. Her first novel, A Summer to Die, received the International Reading Association Children’s Book Award in the late 1970s. The novel focuses on a teenager’s relationship with her older sister, who is terminally ill. Although Lowry has noted that she does not like including autobiographical information in her novels, many readers speculate that the novel was inspired by the death of Lowry’s own sister, who died of cancer.

After A Summer to Die, Lowry wrote a number of other books that became popular in the young adult genre. Most notably, Lowry’s Anastasia series and Number the Stars secured Lowry’s standing as a popular and accomplished writer. Number the Stars won the Newbery Medal and the National Jewish Book Award in 1990. Later, The Giver won the Newbery Medal in 1994. The Giver was penned after Lowry visited her elderly father in a nursing home. The visit inspired her to see that without memory, there is no pain. In The Giver, Lowry shows how a society free from memory can live in peace; however, without memory, the society will not have functional relationships or love.


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