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The Silent Boy Hardcover – April 28, 2003
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From School Library Journal
Ellen Fader, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
I loved the relationship eight-year-old Katie had with her father. We never doubt that Katie will become a doctor one day because of his patient and gentle teaching. Of course the new baby will not be found in the garden patch! It is because of his kindness and openess that Katie is able to befriend the silent Jacob.
Everything seems innocent through Katie's eyes. Taking the new hired girl from her family, the hard lesson her sister Nell, who wants to be a film star, has to learn, the fire at the mill. Even the tragic misunderstanding that puts Jacob into the asylum. Katie has taken the harsh edge from all, and left us to ponder.
But that is how I know it's a great book... How long afterward I am still pondering.
The silent boy isn't silent because of shyness, though Katy is especially kind to him because of her innate goodness and feeling that he might respond to her overtures and break through his reserve. He has some sort of autism which, as Dr. Thatcher observes, is like nature, neither good nor bad, just a fact to be reckoned with. (Medical science wasn't as developed back then as it is today, as the now grown old Katy realizes from her present day perspective.)
It's a touching tale of growing up, and of failure to grow. And it's also sort of brutal and chilling.
"The Silent Boy" is a tragedy - not only in the sense of having an unhappy ending, but in the classical sense, in which that particular course of events rises naturally and inevitably from the personal characteristics of the people involved. True tragedy is unfortunately rare in literature these days, but Lowry gets it perfect in this tense and lovely novel.
The tragic figure in this story is the titular "silent boy," Jacob, a teenager who today would most likely be diagnosed as autistic. He has a gentle way with animals, a gift for mimicking sounds, and a sort of kinship with certain inanimate objects (the grindstone at the mill, the hat he always wears, a pair of shiny marbles), but never speaks and spends most of his time alone. His story is told here through the eyes of Katy Thatcher, a bright eight-year-old who aspires to follow in her father's footsteps and become a doctor. Although her father encourages Katy's curiosity, she is still quite sheltered. Blessed with a compassionate heart and a precocious understanding of human nature, Katy forms a sort of quiet, harmonious bond with Jacob, but at first she is only dimly aware of the connections among the people in her life as the events of the tragedy are set in motion. In the end, however, she is the first, and perhaps the only, one to recognize the whole truth.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The author skips around from one unimportant character to the next for about 160 pages. Jacob, the autistic boy, who is supposed to be one of the two main characters, is barely... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book was fantastic but I do have 1 complaint. I wish it was longer!!!Published 2 months ago by Amanda Murphy
Lois Lowry is one of my all-time favorite authors. I have loved every one of her novels. They are interesting reads for upper elementary and middle school students.Published 5 months ago by Martin, Inc...
A wonderful and very educational story for teenagers, who are still learning what is valuable in real life.Published 9 months ago by Klavdia Khasina