son

Son by Lois Lowry

Claire gave birth to her son when she was fourteen.  As a Birthmother in the community, she wasn’t allowed to touch or even see her baby, who was whisked away immediately.  She expected to be a Vessel for some time, but something went wrong during the birth and she was considered unfit to bear more children.  So Claire was sent to work at the Fish Hatchery in the community, but as she left the birth center, she asked about her baby and whether it had survived.  That’s when she learned she had a son.  During her free time, she started to volunteer at the Nurturing Center and figured out who her son was.  But there was no way for her to really connect with the baby, this disconnected time together had to be enough.  So when her baby left the community, Claire had to follow him.  The journey would leave her stranded, desperate and completely changed.  This conclusion to The Giver Quartet ties the various threads from the other books together and will leave fans of the series satisfied and amazed.

Lowry is the first author I ever wrote a fan letter to and it was for The Giver.  At the time, dystopian fiction was not the rage and was quite unusual, especially for children.  Throughout the series, Lowry has built upon that incredible first book, startling those who thought Jonah had died when he fled, and creating an entire world that was solidly built and designed. 

This book startled me with how effortlessly it reads.  The prose has wings that shimmer and shine, illuminating the incredible world that Lowry continues to expand.  There are so many small moments in this world, from the hand-crafting of a boat to the years of practice before taking a life-risking trip.  There are small birds in cages, picked flowers on tables, and the strength of a long marriage.  Lowry weaves these together into her world, making it hearty and vibrant.

Claire is a wonderful character.  Even in her desperation she is radiant, someone who refuses to accept the world that she is placed in and continues to seek new ways.  It is through her perseverance and determination that the book works.  And it certainly does work.

A memorable ending to a ground-breaking quartet of novels, this one was breathtaking, wrenching and pure wonder.  Appropriate for ages 14-17.

Reviewed from library copy.