Lois Lowry Says 'The Giver' Stays True To Spirit Of Her Book

Aug 13, 2014

Before the Hunger Games, before Divergent, before young adult dystopia became the next big thing, Lois Lowry published “The Giver.

It’s the story of a seemingly utopian society where there is no suffering, no pain, no hunger. But there is also no love or individual freedom, no color, no emotion. Spouses, children and jobs are assigned. Everything and everyone is the same.

In this world, only one man holds all the memories and emotions of the past, until a young boy named Jonas is chosen to become the next person to receive those memories.

The book won the 1994 Newbery Medal, and to this day is deeply popular among kids and adults around the world. Now, 21 years after it was published, the first movie adaptation of “The Giver” is coming out.

“A book goes out there to a zillion different people and everyone reads a different book because they bring their own imaginations to it,” Lowry told Here & Now’s Robin Young. “This book is very introspective, very quiet. I hope [the film] will bring the original spirit of the book alive.”

The inspiration for the book came from observing her aging father. At the age of 92, he began to forget elements of his life, including Lowry’s sister, who passed away at a young age.

“I began to think, maybe that would be a good thing. To forget pain, to forget anguish,” Lowry said.

Phillip Noyce, who’s known for movies including “Clear and Present Danger” and “The Quiet American,” is directing the movie version of “The Giver.” Despite the fact this is the first film adaptation of the book, Noyce says it translated easily to the big screen.

“Lois writes very visually. You read a sequence and you can see it,” he said. “What we have tried to do is imagine what that world might look like if she had written it, say, a couple of years ago.”



  • Lois Lowry, author of the book “The Giver” and dozens of other books, mostly for young adults. She tweets @LoisLowryWriter.
  • Phillip Noyce, director of the film adaptation of “The Giver” which comes out on Friday, August 15th.
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