Book Reviews

Son – Lois Lowry – Last Book of The Giver Quartet

“Fear dims when you learn things.”

7e4cbd_666d08f219244434bbabc928532f8597They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist.

That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew.

What was his name? Was he even alive? She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice.Son thrusts readers once again into the chilling world of the Newbery Medal winning book, The Giver, as well as Gathering Blue and Messenger where a new hero emerges. In this thrilling series finale, the startling and long-awaited conclusion to Lois Lowry’s epic tale culminates in a final clash between good and evil.

mother_childThe Son” starts with the birth of a “Product” to a fourteen-year-old girl named Claire, who has been chosen as Birthmother in the same community where Jonas originally lived. Something goes drastically wrong, and although the child survives, Claire is left sterile, and relegated to a dull job at the Fish Hatchery. She’s also left in the dark as to what has happened, having been blindfolded throughout the procedure. None of her fellow community members can offer any enlightenment and do not share Claire’s maternal yearnings (or any type of passion). (Fans of “The Giver” will easily figure out why Claire is different.) As a result, she is somewhat alienated but very determined to see her son again.

Eventually, Claire sets off in search of Gabe, which brings her to a community which tolerates far more individuality in its members, although the people there are puzzled at the gaps in her knowledge of things such as colors and music. Although Claire is accepted there and finds a mentor, she decides to move on. Her quest for her son will lead her into danger, both physical and supernatural. Her story then overlaps with Jonas’, Kira’s and Gabe’s and while I won’t spoil the ending, I will let you know that she traded everything she had – her youth, her stamina, her life – to be able to see her son again.

“She was willing to give you everything she had. And you took it from her. You took her youth, and her beauty, and her energy and her health-” For a moment, think of his mother, Gabe couldn’t continue speaking. He fell silent and choked back tears. Then he took a deep breath and went on, “- and it didn’t matter. We found each other. None of it mattered but that. You won’t ever know what that’s like, to love someone. In a way, I pity you. But I hope you starve.”

The ending is wonderful. If you can call it an ending. In Lowry’s acceptance speech in 1994 she said about the ending: “There isn’t one. There’s a right one for each of us, and it depends on our own beliefs, our own hopes.” And I think all the books are about hope, about the power to fight society and to do what’s right, the desire to change the world for the better and to create a safe haven for those who need it the most – children and disabled people.

I have seen the wish to have a society where everyone can be happy together and the destruction that only a breath of evil can bring. I have longed for a world where people were able to feel and live free and I think that in this sense, she has provided the ending I truly wanted.

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