Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Plot Summary:
This story is about Claire. After being given the assignment of "Birthmother," Claire became a vessel for the good of the community; girls, ages 13-14, are inseminated and are essential parts of the society since the give birth to future generations. After nine months of not knowing what to expect, Claire goes into labor and is forced to have a Cesarian section. When all is done, Claire is wondering if every birth mother has this kind of procedure. According to other girls, this is not the norm. Not knowing what to think, Claire is reassigned to the Hatchery and she is not given any information as to what happened to her baby and why she has a new job. Luckily, her new group mates have been very nice towards her and are bot aware of how she was reassigned and is content. However, while running an errand, she comes across the Nurturing Center and realized that her baby is there. After fighting with her conscience, because she was about lie as to why she was at the Center, she walked in asking if her childhood friend, Sophia, worked there and if she could see her. When Sophia met with Claire, she asked Sophia if she could get a tour of the facility and Sophia granted her request. Not only did Claire learn about the facility, she learned that caring for an infant was a lot of work. When she finally found, Baby 36, Claire remembered that her baby was classified as 36. The moment she saw her son, Claire had fallen in love. In this world, there is no such thing as love, colors, and desire; children weren't fawned over, nor were they given back to their biological parents. In this society, adults had to apply for spouses and children. The leaders of the community selected these matches and children were assigned roles based on their abilities. If babies don't show early signs that convey they are developing properly, their fates were uncertain . For Claire, her baby was doomed from the moment he was extracted from Claire's womb. However, her baby's nurturer, a nice man with children of his own, did his utmost to make sure her baby gets caught and he even gave her baby a name--Abe. Although it's against regulations to assign a child a name without consent, the baby responded to it. As time passed, Claire struggled with her feelings for her baby. Not only is she starting to have thoughts of keeping her baby, she wants to steal him from the Center. Little does she know, someone forgot to put her on her her pill regiment, which suppress any feeling or emotion. After witnessing the effects of these pills, Claire refused to take her medication. Is Claire willing to risk everything to be with her child or will she be obedient to the community. Furthermore, does she have the strength to survive the journey ahead of her.

Critical Evaluation:
In this beautifully crafted sequel, readers are given another point of view of this compelling story. This time, Gabe's mother, Claire, chronicles her story from life in the Community and the journey she takes to find her child. I did not know what to expect in this story and when Lowry started intertwining The Giver and Gathering Blue, my excitement level went through the roof. I could not put this book down because I wanted to know if Claire would find her baby and if we would ever hear from Jonas again. As we get to know Claire, we learn that she is different from everyone in the Community; we all know that she is feeling and that she shouldn't be. In this world, every citizen takes a pill to remain complacent in order to prevent unrest. In other words, the people are being controlled by the government and someone in the government forgot to medicate Claire. Claire now realizes what's going on and says she would rather die then give up her love for her son. As the story develops, we learn how strong Claire really is. Not only does she survive a shipwreck, and climb a dangerous mountain, she tries to put the pieces of her past together in order to find her son. What she doesn't realize is that her son is in the care of Jonas who has vowed to take care of the boy who was marked for death. These two characters go through incredible feats out of love for this child so readers are anticipating that their paths were cross. What's even more exciting, Lowry brings back other beloved characters such as Matty and Kira that weave the history of their village, beautifully. As for the ending, Lowry shows us just how awesome she is because we are left feeling hopeful and happy that everyone finally gets the happily ever after they deserve. Bravo to everyone for a fight well worth fighting and we hope nothing but blessings for their future. I loved loved this book!

Information about the Author:
According to her website:
Because my father was a career military officer - an Army dentist - I lived all over the world. I was born in Hawaii, and moved from there to New York, where I began school. When the war began, Dad had to go overseas, and Mother took us back to the town of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where she had grown up and where my grandparents lived. I finished elementary school there and during the summer following sixth grade we moved to Tokyo, where I went through seventh and eighth grades. I graduated from high school in New York city, but by the time I went to college, Brown University in Rhode Island, my family was living in Washington, D.C.

I married young. I had just turned nineteen - just finished my sophomore year in college - when I married a Naval officer and continued the odyssey that military life requires. California. Connecticut (a daughter born there). Florida (a son). South Carolina. Finally Cambridge, Massachusetts, when my husband left the service and entered Harvard Law School (another daughter; another son) and then to Maine - by now with four children under the age of five in tow.

My children grew up in Maine. So did I. I returned to college at the University of Southern Maine, got my degree, went to graduate school, and finally began to write professionally, the thing I had dreamed of doing since those childhood years when I had endlessly scribbled stories and poems in notebooks.

After my marriage ended in 1977, when I was forty, I met Martin and we spent thirty happy years together, traveling the world but equally happy just sitting on the porch with the New York Times crossword puzzle! Sadly, Martin died in the spring of 2011. Today I am in Cambridge, Massachusetts, living alone and writing in a house dominated by a very shaggy Tibetan Terrier named Alfie and a funny little cat named Lulu. But a very happy part of my time is spent as well in Maine, in a 1768 farmhouse surrounded by meadows and flower gardens, and often with visiting grandchildren.

Tween Science Fiction

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 6 & up

Books Similar to Son:
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
  • Messenger by Lois Lowry

Awards & Recognition:

"Written with powerful, moving simplicity, Claire's story stands on its own, but as the final volume in this iconic quartet, it holistically reunites characters, reprises provocative socio-political themes, and offers a transcending message of tolerance and hope. Bravo!"
Kirkus, starred review

"Lowry is one of those rare writers who can craft stories as meaningful as they are enticing."
Booklist, starred review

"Son is a tender conclusion to this memorable story, and definitely the best of the books in this sequence since The Giver itself."
School Library Journal, starred review

"The strength of this novel is its compassionate portrait of a mother's commitment to her lost child."
Horn Book
"In the completely absorbing opening, Lowry transports readers back to the horrifying world from which Jonas came."
Publishers Weekly
“A consummate stylist, Lowry handles it all magnificently: the leaps in time, the shifts in perspective, the moments of extreme emotion — fear, joy, sadness — all conveyed in unadorned prose that seizes the heart. Give this book to your child, your grandmother, your senator, your neighbor: It’s a bipartisan tale for our times.”
The Washington Post
“Lois Lowry's Son [is] a gripping end to the Giver series”
The Los Angeles Times
“It's the kind of book that will stay with you for days as you wonder about what it says about human nature, society, and the future of society.”

"A quiet, sorrowful, deeply moving exploration of the powers of empathy and the obligations of love."
The New York Times Book Review

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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