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What We’re Reading: Son

Post by Beth Gerall
Posted October 22, 2013 in NoveList Plus

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Son by Lois Lowry
ISBN: 9780547887203

As I sit down to write this, I can’t help wondering how many people have read and been moved by The Giver (Houghton Mifflin, 1993). So many of us who invested in its world and characters wanted more. Gathering Blue (Houghton Mifflin, 2000) opened up another part of that universe; Messenger (Houghton Mifflin, 2004) made even more connections, and answered many questions. But one -- what became of the baby, Gabriel, saved by Jonas -- remained unanswered.

When I began reading Son, I was transported back to The Giver’s world of Sameness. Enhanced by Lowry’s measured writing, this dispassionate community has minimal color and sound and chemically muted emotions, where everyone is assigned their life’s work at age twelve by the Committee of Elders.

Covering part of the same period as The Giver, Claire is given the role of Birthmother, until something goes wrong during her first delivery. Left unable to bear children, Claire is reassigned to tedious work at the fish hatchery, where she becomes consumed by a need to find out about her son. Breaking many of the rules of her conformist society, Claire secretly begins spending time with baby Gabriel. When she learns that Jonas, the new Receiver, has run away with him, Claire goes after them, setting a new course for her own life.

This thought-provoking novel provides readers with a strong sense of place as Claire’s journey takes her through three distinctive communities. A haunting, yet satisfying, conclusion to the series. Recommended by Beth Gerall