Tuesday, December 23, 2008
A few years ago I had the pleasure of hearing Lois Lowry speak. I walked away from that afternoon with a goal to read all of her books. Well, that hasn't exactly happened, but the intention is still there. That's why I put her book, Gathering Blue, on my list for the Young Adult Challenge.
Gathering Blue is a companion to The Giver, which nearly everyone in my generation read in elementary or middle school. I can't even count the number of times I've brought up that book, only to hear, "Oh man! I loved that book!" Naturally, I was curious about the companion novel.
According to Lowry, she wanted to write two books about a time other than our own. Each novel tells the story of what life would be like if civilization's technology progressed (The Giver) or regressed (Gathering Blue). What a fascinating idea.
Gathering Blue is Kira's story. In Kira's community the disabled are discarded, women are forbidden to read, and people are governed out of fear of beasts. In many ways, this setup could be compared to M. Night Shyamalan's The Village. In short, not an enlightened crowd. Kira is nearly thrown out of the village due to her twisted leg until the council discovers her special gift of threading. She is allowed to stay, but at what price?
As with all science fiction, it's kind of hard to explain. It sounds a little out there unless you read it. Luckily, Lowry has the gift of creating intricate yet easy to understand microcosms of life. Not to mention a little premonitoin of 9/11. Eerie.
Recommendation: Starts out slow and picks up speed. Fans of The Giver will definitely be interested in a possible cameo.