‘The Giver’ BOOK vs MOVIE

I’m only ten minutes into Phillip Noyce’s ‘The Giver’ and the differences between the book and the movie are already piling up.

*Warning: contains spoilers*

  • In the beginning of the book, Jonas is just about to be a Twelve, in the movie, he is graduating. (Which makes more sense for the mature audience that the movie is targeting, but off puts the book instantly.)
  • In the book, Lily, Jonas’ sister is about to be an Eight, in the book she is becoming a Nine.
  • In the book, the Ceremony of Release is a small, private event that takes place at the Home of the Old
  • In the book, there is a maximum of 50 children per year, in the movie, there are over 100 graduates.
  • In the book, Asher is assigned the job of Assistant Recreational Director, in the movie his is a drone pilot.
  • In the book, Jonas, Asher, and Fiona spend their last volunteer hours at the Home of the Old, in the movie, they are at the Nurturing Center with Jonas’ father, which is how Gabe is introduced
  • In the book, Fiona is assigned the job of Caretaker of the Old, in the movie, she is assigned to be a Nurturer (pretty much the exact opposite)
  • In the book, the Chief Elder is at the ceremony in person, in the movie, she is a hologram
  • In the book, Jonas is number 19, in the movie, he is number 52
  • In the book, Jonas’ directions for his new position were paper, in the movie, they were digital holograms with a voiceover.
  • In the book, the annex was pretty much connected to the House of the Old, in the movie, it was built on the edge
  • In the book, The Giver placed his hands on Jonas’ back, in the movie, they grip wrists
  • In the book, the first memory Jonas receives is sledding, but only that, in the movie, they include the cabin and the family
  • In the book, they do not go for a walk
  • In the book, Jonas’ father asks to bring Gabe home, in the movie, Gabe is brought to Jonas’ father
  • In the book, it is light colored eyes that make Jonas and Gabriel stand out, in the movie, it is a mark on the wrist
  • In the book, The Giver did not mention that he saw colors right off the bat
  • In the book, Jonas’ tries to get Asher to see color, in the movie, he tries to get Fiona to see color
  • In the book, the whole scene [from the movie] with Jonas, Asher, and Fiona looking at the drones and sliding down the solar panels does not happen.
  • In the book, if there was drama between The Giver and the Chief Elder, the reader did not know about it as the audience does in the movie
  • In the book, there is no plan for Sameness exposed as there is in the movie
  • In the book, music is mentioned only a handful of times, in the movie, The Giver plays the piano
  • In the book, Jonas takes a pill each morning, in the movie, every citizen receives a morning injection
  • In the book, there is no interaction between Jonas and the Chief Elder other than the Ceremony
  • In the book, Gabe has his own comfort object, which is a hippo, in the movie, Gabe borrows Lily’s comfort object, which is an elephant but is mistaken as a hippo
  • In the book, Gabe sleeps in Jonas’ Mother and Father’s room because Jonas’ Father is a Nurturer, and then he moves to sleep in Jonas’ room. In the movie, Gabe sleeps in Lily’s room
  • In the book, dreams exist and the citizens remember them each morning, as they share their feelings at dinner. In the book, Jonas’ mostly doesn’t dream.
  • In the book, Jonas first encounters love when The Giver shares his favorite memory with him (Christmas with a family), in the movie, The Giver explains love after Jonas has a dream
  • In the book, Jonas accepts the war memory in an easier fashion, in the movie, he storms out
  • In the book, Jonas just stops taking his pill, in the movie, he has to make in elaborate scheme to skip his injection and then he tries to convince Fiona to do the same
  • In the book, Jonas has a temporary meltdown about the game of War, in the movie, he quits being the Reciever
  • In the book, Jonas goes back to the annex, in the movie, Fiona has to convince him to go back
  • In the book, Rosemary was in training for five weeks, in the movie, she was in training for two months (eight weeks)
  • In the book, Jonas brings up Release, in the movie, The Giver is reliving a memory with Rosemary, explains that she wanted to be released, then brings up release footage for Jonas to watch
  • In the book, the triangle/waterfall does not exist
  • In the book, none of the “feeling” stuff with Fiona happens
  • In the book, Jonas and The Giver plan out an escape and it’s cut short by the planning of Gabe’s release, in the movie, there is no planning and Asher tries to stop Jonas, in the book, Asher didn’t even know
  • In the movie, The Giver already has a plan of escape
  • In the book, Jonas begs and begs The Giver to come with him
  • In the book, Jonas does not attack anybody, in fact, the only physical contact he has is with The Giver, Gabe, and when he holds onto Asher’s shoulders
  • In the movie, his mother is much more involved
  • In the book, Jonas takes Gabe from his dwelling and steals his father’s bike to do so. In the movie, he has to sneak into the Nurturing Center, convince Fiona to join his cause and kidnap Gabe, all while being hunted down
  • The movie has a much more high-stakes chase down
  • In the book, Jonas sneaks away quietly, at night, and nobody notices that he is gone until the next day. He just rides a bike down the road as far as he can for days on end. In the movie, he rides a motorcycle off a cliff.
  • In the book, due to the fact that it follows Jonas, we do not know what happens in the community after he leaves
  • In the book, Jonas travels by bicycle at night and sleeps during the day, hidden in a bush, in the movie, he sleeps at night (with a fire, how stupid if you’re trying to hide) and travels by foot during the day once the power to the motorcycle runs out
  • In the movie, some weird plane/drone/UFO stuff happens. That doesn’t happen in the book
  • In the book, there is no romantic relationship
  • In the book, we do not know what happens to the community

‘The Giver’ Review

the-giver-novelI read Lois Lowry’s The Giver in two days. I only put it down when I had to.

I was instantly gripped by Jonas, the protagonist, and his love for language. The book opens with his internal dialogue as he tries to figure out if he was frightened or something else entirely. He weighs different words and emotions in his mind, finally deciding on apprehensive. Following through Jonas’ thought process, I believe, really helps the reader figure him out as a character.

Furthermore, as we read through Jonas’ thoughts, we are exposed to the culture of his community. The community itself is captivating enough to keep me interested up until chapter eight, when the story really starts to take off! The community and it’s never ending rules are so interesting and different than that of the way that we live today, that there is no way it cannot be interesting. The community is not explained outright, which I think is why I enjoyed the book so much. As the story progresses and more rules appear, they are explained, instead of all at once. That method of writing really helps the reader feel more immersed in the world.

The Giver was a quick and easy read, something that I was not expecting due to all the hype that I’ve heard about it. Lowry does an excellent job creating a book that can stand the test of time and span generations.

I like to think of The Giver as the first dystopian book before they got really popular (Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, Delirium)! Seriously, dystopian is its own genre.

Though I wish there had been a few things cleared up, such as the ending and the part about the planes (in the beginning), I really enjoyed reading The Giver and plan on watching the movie right after I write this review (and by the look of the trailer, I’ll probably be disappointed).

I give The Giver ★★★★★