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Son (Giver Quartet) Hardcover – October 2, 2012
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From School Library Journal
—Kirkus, starred review
"Lowry is one of those rare writers who can craft stories as meaningful as they are enticing."
—Booklist, starred review
"Son is a tender conclusion to this memorable story, and definitely the best of the books in this sequence since The Giver itself."
—School Library Journal, starred review
"The strength of this novel is its compassionate portrait of a mother's commitment to her lost child."
"In the completely absorbing opening, Lowry transports readers back to the horrifying world from which Jonas came."
“A consummate stylist, Lowry handles it all magnificently: the leaps in time, the shifts in perspective, the moments of extreme emotion — fear, joy, sadness — all conveyed in unadorned prose that seizes the heart. Give this book to your child, your grandmother, your senator, your neighbor: It’s a bipartisan tale for our times.”
—The Washington Post
“Lois Lowry's Son [is] a gripping end to the Giver series”
—The Los Angeles Times
“It's the kind of book that will stay with you for days as you wonder about what it says about human nature, society, and the future of society.”
"A quiet, sorrowful, deeply moving exploration of the powers of empathy and the obligations of love."
—The New York Times Book Review
More About the Author
A CONVERSATION WITH LOIS LOWRY ABOUT THE GIVER
Q. When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
A. I cannot remember ever not wanting to be a writer.
Q. What inspired you to write The Giver?
A. Kids always ask what inspired me to write a particular book or how did I get an idea for a particular book, and often it's very easy to answer that because books like the Anastasia books come from a specific thing; some little event triggers an idea. But a book like The Giver is a much more complicated book, and therefore it comes from much more complicated places--and many of them are probably things that I don't even recognize myself anymore, if I ever did. So it's not an easy question to answer.
I will say that the whole concept of memory is one that interests me a great deal. I'm not sure why that is, but I've always been fascinated by the thought of what memory is and what it does and how it works and what we learn from it. And so I think probably that interest of my own and that particular subject was the origin, one of many, of The Giver.
Q. How did you decide what Jonas should take on his journey?
A. Why does Jonas take what he does on his journey? He doesn't have much time when he sets out. He originally plans to make the trip farther along in time, and he plans to prepare for it better. But then, because of circumstances, he has to set out in a very hasty fashion. So what he chooses is out of necessity. He takes food because he needs to survive. He takes the bicycle because he needs to hurry and the bike is faster than legs. And he takes the baby because he is going out to create a future. And babies always represent the future in the same way children represent the future to adults. And so Jonas takes the baby so the baby's life will be saved, but he takes the baby also in order to begin again with a new life.
Q. When you wrote the ending, were you afraid some readers would want more details or did you want to leave the ending open to individual interpretation?
A. Many kids want a more specific ending to The Giver. Some write, or ask me when they see me, to spell it out exactly. And I don't do that. And the reason is because The Giver is many things to many different people. People bring to it their own complicated beliefs and hopes and dreams and fears and all of that. So I don't want to put my own feelings into it, my own beliefs, and ruin that for people who create their own endings in their minds.
Q. Is it an optimistic ending? Does Jonas survive?
A. I will say that I find it an optimistic ending. How could it not be an optimistic ending, a happy ending, when that house is there with its lights on and music is playing? So I'm always kind of surprised and disappointed when some people tell me that they think the boy and the baby just die. I don't think they die. What form their new life takes is something I like people to figure out for themselves. And each person will give it a different ending. I think they're out there somewhere and I think that their life has changed and their life is happy, and I would like to think that's true for the people they left behind as well.
Q. In what way is your book Gathering Blue a companion to The Giver?
A. Gathering Blue postulates a world of the future, as The Giver does. I simply created a different kind of world, one that had regressed instead of leaping forward technologically as the world of The Giver has. It was fascinating to explore the savagery of such a world. I began to feel that maybe it coexisted with Jonas's world . . . and that therefore Jonas could be a part of it in a tangential way. So there is a reference to a boy with light eyes at the end of Gathering Blue. He can be Jonas or not, as you wish.
Top Customer Reviews
"The Son" starts with the birth of a "Product" to a fourteen-year-old girl named Claire, who has been chosen as Birthmother in the same community where Jonas originally lived. Something goes drastically wrong, and although the child survives, Claire is left sterile, and relegated to a dull job at the Fish Hatchery. She's also left in the dark as to what has happened, having been blindfolded throughout the procedure. None of her fellow community members can offer any enlightenment and do not share Claire's maternal yearnings (or any type of passion). (Fans of "The Giver" will easily figure out why Claire is different.) As a result, she is somewhat alienated but very determined to see her son again.
From the hatchery, Claire gets a chance to view the incoming ships and a taste of what a different community might be like. She also begins volunteering at the center where the "newchildren" are and becomes friendly with Jonas' father, who works as a nurturer there. As she figures out that Gabe (or the fractious young "Number Thirty-Six") is indeed her son, the series reader is on familiar territory and knows ahead of time what's going to happen.Read more ›
"Son" does indeed start in the same society as "The Giver", but it is set during the same time period as the first book, and in a lot of ways, simply retells that story from a different perspective. The story then moves to a new society, a seaside world set at the edge of a cliff seperating it from the rest of the world, and then to the world of "Messenger". The story follows Claire, a birthmother from the Giver society, on a quest. I won't give away any plot points, but the book works to tie everything up, and in a lot of ways, it does. However, in the ways I truly wanted, it didn't. We really have no more idea than when we started as to the whys of it all. How did this world come to be, split in small odd societies? How did the strange world of The Giver get planned and started? Why is technology so different in each world? Most of all, I would just like to find out more about Jonas and Claire's original home, the planned, sterile world of The Giver.
The writing is skilled here, and the emotions portrayed are dramatic.Read more ›
The Giver itself, of course, is wonderful. It is everything that young adult fiction should be, from start to finish. Even now, with technology being what it is, the book holds up perfectly well and will probably hold up for a great deal longer. If you've read Lowry's acceptance speech for the Newbery Award for The Giver, you know how much of her life went into this book. It shows. It's crafted, with precision. I enjoy The Hunger Games series, but they're about as far apart as possible while both still being Young Adult fiction. I get the sense of time spent with The Giver, and it's both in how the book was written and how it is presented. Watching Jonas digest his world in the bits and pieces he is fed by the Giver is spellbinding.
Lowry's acceptance speech in 1994 has always bothered me, however. Her insistence that she won't tell you the true ending ("There isn't one," she says. "There's a right one for each of us, and it depends on our own beliefs, our own hopes.") of course was eliminated with the two previous sequels, Gathering Blue and The Messenger. We know what happened at the end of The Giver, or at least what did NOT happen. A great deal of guesswork was eliminated, and that flies in the face of that first book and what ending was published. We actually DO know what happened with Gabriel and Jonas on that sled at the end of the Giver.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There are quite a few factors that are incongruent with each other. But it was an entertaining book. Good to pass the time.Published 2 days ago by Cassie
I have read all four books. I like all of them. However I believe this book is very special. I like how it linked stories across all four boos and in the same time it was such an... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
Before reading I had seen disappointed reviews, but I felt this book wrapped everything up without being predictable. Bravo! I finally feel the saga is concluded.Published 5 days ago by Mary
This one wasn't quite what I had hoped for the finale of the series. It did a pretty good job of tying everything up but it wasn't very exciting. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Maranda @ Athroneofbooks
I loved how this book went on to tell what happened with Jonas and Gabe and how it was all brought together in the end. I shed a tear or two at the very end. Great work.Published 8 days ago by sergio parada
Great ending, just wish it would have went a little more into the endings.Published 22 days ago by Misty Everhart