File Size: 4280 KB
Print Length: 204 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Mti edition (July 1, 2014)
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
And long before it became chic, Lois Lowry produced a hauntingly memorable quartet of stories occur a world where feelings are suppressed and people with gifts are imprisoned. The four books are loosely tied together -- the first and previous most tightly -- and mingle fantasy and science fiction, with haunting the entire and some very strong characters, as well as a message of compassion and acceptance.
In "The Giver, " Jonas lives in a rigid, joyless community where people use emotion-deprivation pills and adhere to insanely strict rules -- they may have no conflict, lower income or discrimination... but they also have no love, no fun, and no creativeness. When Jonas is chosen as the Receiver of Memories, he is suddenly flooded with feelings and memories of both the good and unhealthy from humanity's distant past.
Plus as he comes to realize what his people have lost in their quest to become the same, Jonas commences yearning for the world he is aware must exist outside the Community. But his pursuit becomes a more personal one if he discovers another price for the Community's existence: the "release" of infants that they don't deem good enough. The only one who can change the Local community is Gabe.
"Gathering Blue" introduces us to Kira, a young girl born with a deformed leg in another community that simply leaves disabled or sickly people to die in the Field of Departing. She is merely kept in existence because of her skill with embroidery and weaving, so she can make the Singer's robe. Because she comes to realize the horrible flaws in her village's way of life, Kira must make an important decision -- stay and try to improve things, or leave for a place that would delightful her?
"Messenger" was relatively controversial upon its release, since some fans of "The Giver" felt that it "ruined" the hopeless ending they had imagined for the first guide. In takes place in Village, a community made upwards of outcasts, misfits and disabled people, ruled by the kindly Leader. However the Village is surrounded by Forest, a terrifying and deadly forest that kills those who venture into it -- and though the awkward teen young man Matty has had the capacity to go there, it is now growing darker and twisted. Because the Village commences to close itself off from the outside world, Matty finds that this individual may be the only one who can save them all.
"Son" takes all of us back in time to Claire, a young woman whose entire purpose is to produce babies for the Community -- and her child is the sickly baby boy known as Gabe, who disappears with Jonas into the great unknown. Her desperation to find her boy inspires her on a years-long quest to find him -- and a Faustian pact with a dreadful figure who only wants suffering.
Pretty much all young-adult dystopian fiction is in debt for a debt to the Giver Quartet -- it has young adults discovering the cruelty and callousness of their societies, and finding different ways to rebel. But Lowry doesn't disassociate with asking the serious questions in her story, such as lack of regard for life (if it's inconvenient or doesn't fit in), kindness, compassion, and the good AND bad roots of what it means to truly live.
Lowry's writing is simple but poetic, winding through with some quietly eloquent vocabulary ("Now, on this shattered morning, he felt absolutely nothing but knots and snarls under his fingertips"). Plus she fills the tales not with bombast and battle, but with tragedy and quiet triumph -- and while the story is in a future world fragmented into multiple cultures, there's a hint of the fantastical as well. Think special powers, the mysterious Trademaster, and whatnot.
And she creates a different collection of characters. Just about all of them are linked together into a story that culminates in "Son, " and they all have the theme of seeking to increase the cruel, callous worlds these were in -- Jonas by leaving the Community to the memories they are seeking to avoid, Kira by staying and working, and Matty through self-sacrifice. Expresse is the odd duck out, a young woman untied in the world, eager to find her baby.
"The Giver Quartet" is a haunting memorable collection of novels, some of which inspired the current common dystopian novels. Rich, haunting and well-written., My girl loved this book so much she wanted me to read it so we could discuss it. It's definitely a thought-provoking book with echoes of 1984 and Animal Farmville farm. The careful segregation of the ages reminded me of the present day evangelical cathedral practice of segregating everyone in the church by life stage. The sanitation of society (literal and figurative) reminded me of the forced sterilization programs in China and in 3rd world countries (enforced and marketed by those who " know better" ). The sterile take care of death by the community definitely hints at abortion and euthanasia. The rejection of the biological family is a trend that is taking place right now in our world (with advances in reproductive technology).
Lois Lowry presents a lot of heavy themes to mull over but she also leaves the reader with many questions. Lowry's the entire is sparse so that as in her other books I have read (Number the Stars), I get this feeling I'm walking through a world that's not completely fleshed out or coloured in., A lot potential for a really great story, nevertheless the ending was puzzling, disappointing. and went no where. I am remaining feeling that somehow the whole book didn't make it to my kindle. I " get" the message of the guide but there are so many more worthier reads. Enders Game is a good one; it experienced a beginning, middle and ending. How about 1984 or Animal Farm. Within the finish this textbooks just didn't have enough depth or mental challenge for me. Granted Now i'm in my 70's and not 12 so maybe that's the problem., We read this book in elementary school and appreciated liking it. I just completed reading it again today and realized We love it. The important points We remembered from my 10-year-old pursuit were fuzzy. We remembered a couple of the given memories, some of the facts of Jonas' selection, and a very short version of the ending. Now I bear in mind it in all its brilliance.
Lois Lowry's version of an Utopian/Dystopian community is brilliantly simple in execution and yet complicated in the realm of her thought process behind each and every element. It's amazing how simplifying a civilization can actually cause complex paradoxes and difficult snags to tiptoe around or just ignore. Sure it's fictional, but I believe that in a real life Utopia such as this would be shockingly similar. Absolutely nothing is ever perfect.
We won't get into detail because I don't want to spoil the book; We just want to encourage everyone to read this novel. If you've read it before, read it again. It will eventually cause you to self-examine your own life and the lives around you, wondering how you'd act in Jonas' situation and whether or not you'd be brave enough to follow in his footsteps. Written for children, this Newberry Prize winning book intrigues older people as well and is a fantastic, quick read for anyone. Seriously. I read it in about about three hours, and I'm not the fastest reader.
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