by Lois Lowry
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
In the interest of full disclosure, I will mention up front that I am a huge Lois Lowry fan, and The Giver is in my Top 3 All-Time Favorite Books. So she had me from page 1. I eagerly awaited Son’s completion, publication, and arrival into my hands. I even restrained myself from overriding a fellow patron’s hold and was rewarded when the next copy was for me. Joy!
I inhaled it. I think I had the book for three days and spent every spare second reading, staying up late the last night to finish it, though I tried so very hard to pace myself and read every word. As Lowry mentions in her recent On Point interview with Tom Ashbrook, she had a lot of ground to cover – 14 years – so this book has a lot more action than, say, The Giver. There was one night of reading where the suspense got me so riled up, I had trouble falling asleep.
This is a solid conclusion to the previous three books. We first return to the world of The Giver, and then this new main character goes her own way and meets up with all the other main characters later. Spoiler alert: Evil (having taken human-esque form) is vanquished. After reading Lowry’s blog for many years and going through her partner Martin’s death almost with her, I was touched to see that not only was the book dedicated to him, but there was a character called Martyn. I wouldn’t be surprised if it helped her feel like he was with her while she wrote it.
One part that really stood out to me was a character who hinted so subtly at having been sexually abused as a child. I have no idea how aware Lois Lowry is of this allusion, if it was on purpose or not, but I wonder if there will be any attention paid to it. In my opinion, kids who are reading it and are not aware of such evils will not register it; kids who do know will hopefully be able to identify with this character and see that he was willing and able to love and be loved in spite of it.
I also thought the writing was solid, classic Lois Lowry, very much in tune with the other three books. Son did not blow me away the way The Giver did (maybe because I’m no longer a naive pre-teen?), but it was well-written, suspenseful, and comforting. I am now re-reading The Giver (for the umpteenth time) and STILL seeing new things in it, no doubt enhanced by the parallel story told in Son, and I’m looking forward to hearing Lowry speak in a couple of weeks at one of my favorite local bookstores.