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Lois Lowry

(1937- )
Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She was born in Hawaii and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan. After several years at Brown University, she turned to her family and to writing. She is the author of more than thirty books for young adults, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader’s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award. Ms. Lowry now divides her time between Cambridge and an 1840s farmhouse in Maine. To learn more about Lois Lowry, see her website.


The Giver: Good story, important questions

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I was first introduced to this book by students in my Ancient Political Theory class while discussing Plato’s Republic. “This is like The Giver!” I had never read the book, so I picked it up and found that, indeed, there are many similarities. The Giver by Lois Lowry is set in a utopian future society where all individuality has been suppressed and people live lives planned by a central council of Elders who dictate who will marry, who has children, what jobs people have, and every aspect of life, from clothing and hair styles to food eaten and recreational activities allowed. The central character of the story is Jonas, a young boy about to become a Twelve, at which point he will be given the assignment of his career for the rest of his life. At that ceremony, when the rest of his classmates are assigned to be doctors or engineers or fish hatcher... Read More

Gathering Blue: Lacks any resolution

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry is the loosely linked sequel to The Giver. Set in the same world, this story is set in another village that has survived post-apocalyptic collapse of larger society. Instead of the peaceful, well-ordered, cooperative world that characterized the first book, Gathering Blue is set in a dirty, hardscrabble village, where violence and betrayal are commonplace.

The story centers on Kira, a young woman with a deformed leg. Normally, she would have been left to die at birth because of the deformity, but her widowed mother fought for her, and so she was allowed to live. Now, with her mother dead from disease, and her cottage burned to prevent the spread of the illness, she is alone with no one to protect her or help her survive the harsh future she faces except for a little dirty boy from... Read More

Messenger: Whaaaa?

Messenger by Lois Lowry

The book flap describes Messenger by Lois Lowry thusly: “For the past six years, Matty has lived in Village and flourished under the guidance of Seer, a blind man, known for his special sight. Village was a place that welcomed newcomers, but something sinister has seeped into Village and the people have voted to close it to outsiders. Matty has been invaluable as a messenger. Now he must make one last journey through the treacherous forest with his only weapon, a power he unexpectedly discovers within himself.” Do you want to know why I used the book flap description for the first time ever? Because I don’t trust myself not to get all snarktastic just describing the book.

Warning: Review is going to be snarktastic.

Okay, I freely admit I am getting more and more irritated by this series as I go further along. You want to know why? Because it ma... Read More

Son: Doesn’t resolve this series’ problems

Son by Lois Lowry

Son by Lois Lowry is the fourth and final book in THE GIVER series. I’ve had serious problems with previous installments in this series, and unfortunately this book does little to nothing to resolve those problems. My main issues have been that there is no source or explanation given for the mystical gifts that very few of the people possess, and that there is no explanation for the evil force that pervaded Forest in the last book.

Son starts back in the first community in the series. Clare has been chosen to be a Vessel, or a birthmother as they were called in the first book. When her first delivery goes wrong, she is reassigned to work in the fish hatchery. However, she can’t forget her baby. She starts volunteering in the nursery, and eventually discovers which child is hers. When the baby is transferred ... Read More