Monday, January 5, 2015

Book Review: Son by Lois Lowry

Many years ago, probably close to 10 years ago, to be honest, I read aloud The Giver to the kids--those I was homeschooling from another family and my daughter. My son and nephew were only 4 and just not into listening to novels, but the older kids (7, 8, 10 and 13) all listened. We loved the book. We started reading one of the sequels and, for some reason, just never finished it. I'm not sure if life things got in the way and the book went back to the library or if we just didn't connect with it. If it was a case of not connecting with it, Son makes up for that.

In all these years, I still haven't read the two sequels that came before Son. Truth be told, even though I haven't read those two others, Son is a story that is complete within itself. You do not need to have read The Giver to appreciate this story, although knowing The Giver certainly adds to it. There was a point while I was reading where memories came back and I had to go check my copy of The Giver, had my "Aha!" moment and it made the already captivating story that much better.

What is Son? It's the story of a girl from the same place as The Giver, an unnamed placed where everything is controlled: who studies what, who becomes what, who marries whom and when, who gets which children... She is chosen to be a Birthmother, a job she is somewhat embarrassed to have gotten because it's not seen as highly as some others. The Birthmothers in this community are artificially inseminated at controlled times of the year. They give birth, at which point the babies, called Products, go elsewhere to be taken care of in their infancy before being placed with a married couple (I was going to call it "family", but if you read the book, you'll get the sense they're not really "family). This particular girl, Claire, gives birth and is then switched to a different task, which is unusual. But unlike other Birthmothers, she has a yearning for her child that grows and grows and leads her to spending her life trying to get him back. There are various adventures and obstacles in the way which lead them both outside of the village and away from each other. The story focuses on Claire ending up in a different, isolated village and everything she does to try to find her son again.

I don't want to say too much of the story. It was a delightful story to uncover page by page. While I have a tendency to read very quickly through books I love, like Divergent and The Hunger Games, this was one that I read quite a bit more slowly. Not because it wasn't interesting but because it just felt like the kind of story to truly take one's time with and feel it. Lois Lowry did a fantastic job of making you care about Claire and her desire and goal, of making the story a story on its own yet cleverly weaved with, at the very least, The Giver. Now I want to read the other two I haven't yet read and see how they all connect.

If you haven't read The Giver, you don't really need to read it first. There was a true delight for me in going back to The Giver and seeing the connection once I was well into Son. At the same time, I could see the delight in reading The Giver first and being able to have the story line... continued? resolved? Not sure what the best way to explain it is without giving something away. If you have read The Giver, loved it and wanted to know what happened after, read this book.

Have you read Son? What did you think of it? What about the movie The Giver? I've been wanting to see it but haven't--yet.


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  1. I totally cried all the way through - well, starting at the moment of the birth....

    I HAVE read the other two - and I can say with certainty, you don't need to have read the others at all - but each story gives depth to all the others.

  2. I had it on hold already when I saw your post :). I just read The Giver (and Gathering Blue) for the first time about a month ago. Looking forward to it.