Son by Lois Lowry brings The Giver Quartet to a close. In a shocking, haunting and sweet ending, the tale is finally at an ending and Lowry’s groundbreaking novels are complete – winning her awards of all kinds. I truly enjoyed reading each and every one of these amazing books but I’d have to say that The Giver (which I have reviewed if you look down my blog a few days) was my favourite. It was like a breath of fresh air after being stuck in a room full of people you don’t really want to be with. Lois Lowry’s writing is captivating and teasingly effective. These books were definitely worth the read.
Son is split into three parts – before, between and beyond. It tells the tragic and bittersweet story of Claire, Gabe’s mother. Before – Claire in Jonas’ community is about two years older than Jonas and was assigned Birthmother as her job. After one hard and painful birth, she is deemed decertified and is unable to have any more children. Her experience was harsh and difficult, there was a problem with her delivery and a C- section is needed. She is told that her new job will be at the Fish Hatchery, here she makes friends but there is a part of her missing. She has stopped taking her pills and with that comes feelings. She misses her son and wants to see him, she needs to see him. So, she begins helping out at the Nurturing Centre where she meets Jonas’ father and the reader is then clued in that her baby is actually Gabe.
After spending time with her son, everything starts to fall apart – her son is not doing well and Jonas’ father is taking him to stay with him at nights. Obviously, this book has whispers of what happened in the first, Jonas’ job and the mutterings that happen after. Soon, it’s apparent that Gabe is not doing well, Jonas takes him and the last part of the first few chapters is hazy. It’s clear that Jonas is gone and memories start to flood back but Claire too distraught that her son is gone, runs onto a boat cargo which she has made some friends on.
Claire tries to remember what happened after Jonas’ leaving but things are never totally clear. She stays on the ship but never really fits in, her mind is always elsewhere and when the ship is shipwrecked she floats out to sea. This is where we enter the next part of the book.
Between – Claire tries to regain her memory while staying in a Village. She does not remember anything from her life before and is taken in by Alys an old midwife to regain her memory. Slowly she begins to remember things, see colours and animals. She begins to have splashes of her life before and then one day, after a birth in the Village, she remembers her life. The community, her birth and her son being taken – she remembers being shipwrecked and what happened when Jonas left (her last day there as well as she hoped to follow him), the hazy memories of seeing Jonas’ father and people walking about as memories came to them.
It is now when she realises she must climb out of the Village, up a steep cliff. A man, who is a little older than Claire who is now sixteen and he is eighteen, trains her. She stays in the Village for a few years and it is Lame Einar who trains her. He once climbed the cliff and tells her of his story – how his father blamed him for his wife’s death, how he treated him terribly and his climb and fall to the ground. They become fast friends and soon fall in love, although Claire knows she cannot stay. She trains and trains and trains, soon she is strong enough to climb out. This is when she meets the Tradesmaster, an evil man who Lame Einar once met but denied him any trade, resulting in his fall. He is the one who was banished and what Matty and Kira fought to defeat with the help of Jonas. Claire, unknowing to this, trades her youth to see her son and she is transported to where Gabe lives.
Beyond – Claire arrives when Gabe is around eight years old and now, seven years later, he is fifteen years old but Claire cannot bring herself to him. She has become frail and old by the trading of her youth. She watches him but knows that her time will soon pass. She tells Jonas of her story and Jonas tells Gabe. At first Gabe is unsure, but in the end he believes Jonas and fights off the Tradesmaster with his power to veer (see into people’s minds). Claire is resorted to herself again, young and strong with her coppery locks of thick hair and her youth. Gabe, who had been wishing to leave to meet his mother, is finally reunited with her in a sweet ending.
In all, I really enjoyed this book. It’s tale of hope and loss, perseverance and evil. It shows that one should never toy with a mother’s love or a child’s love for their parents – these bonds are unbreakable. This tale is one that shows good will always win over evil, even if darkness seems to have the upper hand. There will always be someone willing to fight the good fight to get things sorted out.
Another thing I really liked is how different these books are from other dystopian books. There really is a magical, supernatural element to these books and while it may seem like an odd mix, it works in a strange and wonderful way. It takes such an unexpected turn, delving into a simpler world or at least in this Village. I will always wonder though how life changed at Jonas’ community, it is said that things had changed and knowledge was known to all, with the books sent to Jonas. But I will wonder what it would’ve been like – free and happy. No longer would it be the harsh communist community and a more liberal, free place to live with places to see and books to read and equal opportunities for all (not that it was a problem before anyway).
In all, if I was to pick a place to live, I think it would either be where Jonas and Gabe and Kira end up staying along with Claire in the healing village, or in Jonas’ healed community – once the memories and feelings were expressed, once life changed for the better. Once it became a home. This series of novels is definitely up there in my favourite dystopian books with the likes of The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner andDivergent.
For anyone who is in the mood for a heart warming and sweet tale, these books are the ones for you. There are many points, places, quotes and characters in this Quartetthat stand out to me, but the one quote that I will always remember is:
“Her name was Rosemary.“