Monday, January 13, 2014

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry


Gathering Blue
by Lois Lowry
2000
****
4 stars - not quite as good as its predecessor, but still well worth a read

ALR Green - one delightful little dog in a supporting role


This is the second book in Lois Lowry's quartet for young readers. From a society where nothing bad ever happens in The Giver, Ms. Lowry moves to a feral society where only the strong survive. Children (or Tykes as they are referred to) are slapped and smacked into good behavior. Food is scarce and anybody showing physical weakness is dragged into The Fields and left to die.

The central character of the story, Kira, was born with a twisted leg that should have destined her for The Fields, but her mother was able to plead for keeping the little Tyke in order to pass along her weaving skills.

When Kira's mother dies, Kira is singled out to go and live among the Council of Guardians and work on repair of the sacred cloak worn by the Singer. The Singer, annually, does a day long song fest, retelling the history of the world. So, yeah, it's a good gig for Kira. Plus she gets all the food she could eat and indoor plumbing. In her new home, she meets Thomas, a wood carver who has also been given a sacred task. His is to maintain the carvings in the Singer's staff.

Once again, Ms. Lowry has crafted a thought provoking book about courage, kindness, and all the foibles of human nature. I didn't enjoy this quite as much as the first book in the series, but it is still well above average.

One thing I love about the two books I've read is the ambiguity of the endings. Normally, an ambiguous ending would be frustrating, but in Ms. Lowry's books, they are more of an invitation for contemplation. There's plenty to think about in this thin volume. At the head of the list is that one must always ask questions, even when the answers might be scary. Knowledge is power, as they say.

I'm still voting to add Ms. Lowry's books to middle school reading curriculum. 

1 comment:

  1. I've heard of a lot of Lois Lowry's books, but not this one! I admit that I'm more than a little intrigued!

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