Teen Book Review
Pub 10-2012, Houghton Mifflin, $17.99
Anyone who’s familiar with children’s literature has no doubt heard of Lois Lowry. She’s won two Newbery Medals, one for Number the Stars and another for The Giver, and has written a multitude of other children’s books. Chances are, you’ve read a Lois Lowry novel, and if you have, then you probably noticed how brilliantly it was written. Son is no different. The final book in the Giver series, it ties everything from The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger together in a way that only a superb author like Lowry can.
The book starts out in the same community where The Giver takes place, and is told from the point of view of Claire, a girl who was selected to be a Birthmother. Claire is in labor when the book starts, and we quickly figure out that she’s having trouble delivering. Forced to deliver via C-section, Claire is put to sleep, and when she wakes up, she finds out that the baby has survived, but she is unable to give birth again. She is reassigned to work in the Fish Hatchery. Claire is given a limited amount of information about the child she delivered, only being told that she had a son and that he was the thirty-sixth child delivered that year. She later uses this information to inconspicuously visit him in the Nurturing Center.
Not long into the book, it is apparent that Claire’s son is, in fact, Gabe, the child that plays a large role in The Giver. Claire begins to love Gabe, and longs for the times she can visit the Nurturing Center to see her son. Then one day, Gabe is gone. Those who are familiar with The Giver recognize this as the time Jonas takes Gabe and they flee the community. Devastated by this loss, Claire vows to find her son, and does whatever she has to in order to see him again.
Ms. Lowry always writes her characters with a level of depth that is much too rare in children’s novels. When Claire begins to feel the loss connected with losing Gabe, I felt empathy. I can’t go into too much detail here without spoiling anything, but there were multiple times, while reading, when I felt the exact same thing the characters felt. When a book can make you feel that way, it’s a special thing.
Being a fan of The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger, I was thrilled to see so many of the characters from those books appear in Son. It was also interesting to learn more about what the Birthmothers do in the community where Jonas, Claire, and Gabe are from. For the most part, loose ends are tied up very nicely.
That being said, the only complaint I have about Son is that there were a few unresolved issues. Some relationships that Claire developed on her journey to find Gabe, she had to cut off, and I would’ve liked some closure on them. I know, I know–a complaint that small is petty. Still, it would’ve been nice to know what happened.
Truthfully, Son is an outstanding book that is a great conclusion to the Giver quartet. The characters are beautifully crafted, the story brings everything full-circle, and it is just an overall great way to end the series. Fans of the Giver books will most certainly not be disappointed.
-Rachel P., 16