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mtj
4.17.09, 12:22 PM
The Giver by Lois Lowry.
Has anyone read it?
If not, you should.
It is not a long read, and it is very thought provoking.
I would love to discuss it if anyone has read it.

mogal
4.20.09, 10:58 AM
Thank you. The Giver is a lovely book which I unfortunately raced through. It deserves a second, more thoughtful look. I also borrowed Messenger, which appears to have a similar theme, that Utopia can only be achieved through tyranny. The Giver reminded me greatly of Ayn Rand's Anthem and We, the People, with the difference that Lowry gives an ambiguous ending. The reader must decide whether Jonas has reached Elsewhere or Release. The book also gives us a deeply troubling line: "Thank you for your childhood." The regimentation of childhood and family is a deeply disturbing theme.

So thank you for the recommendation. I will re-read The Giver before returning it and I also intend to add it to my own bookshelves.

mogal
4.27.09, 5:33 PM
Finished "Gathering Blue" which is the second book in the trilogy. Kira lives in the complete opposite world as Jonas. Her village is from the dark ages and all technology has been lost after the "Ruin". Human life has little value and Kira herself is only allowed to live because she has a rare and desirable skill. This book didn't appeal to me as much as the first one. There is little subtlety here and the surprises at the end are predictable. I liked Matt, the boy from the fens who lives just the way he wants and has no fear. He will be back in the final book, "Messenger."

mtj
4.27.09, 7:26 PM
Ack!
I didn't know this was a series.
I can't wait to read the next books.
Interesting point, Mogal.
It never occurred to me that Jonas had arrived at anywhere but "Elsewhere".
I read a very interesting review of "The Giver" by a creative writing teacher.
One of her assignments was for her class to read this book, and then write "the next chapter" as they thought it might happen.
She said that the papers that were turned in were the most thought provoking papers she had ever read.

mogal
4.28.09, 5:15 PM
There is a little clue near the end of "Gathering Blue" that makes me believe Matt met Jonas living in the next village. I hope he appears in the final book.

mogal
5.4.09, 12:42 PM
Finished "Messenger." My darling little Matt is living in his new village, 6 years older and considerably more civilized, with Seer, a blind man who is wise. Jonas is here also, now a young man who is the village Leader. No explanation how that happened, or what Leader actually does. He seems to spend all his time in the library. Sometimes he goes to a window and "looks beyond." At these times he shimmers. Yes. He shimmers.

Changing times are coming to Village. There aren't so many fish. Some people want to stop welcoming newcomers to the village. Newcomers require extra care and sometimes they can't even speak the language. Even worse, there is now a Trade Mart, where people can buy luxury goods such as a Gaming Machine. Such items are apparently purchased with the buyer's soul. (note to Ms. Lowry: If you want to write a political book, just do it. Don't try to disguise it as a children's story.)

Our Matty has always had free passage through Forest, but now Forest is "thickening" and becoming more threatening. Matty must get through to fetch Seer's daughter, Kyra, from his home village. Kyra also has the gift of "seeing beyond" and she also shimmers. (sigh)

Matty has a gift also and he must use it to save them from the threatening Forest. I am not sure if he is supposed to be Jesus Christ or Obama. It's a hard ending for a great character like my little puppy-loving urchin, Matt.

Lois Lowry has a terrific gift herself. She certainly showed it off in "The Giver." I kinda wish she had stopped there, with a novel that makes the reader think, instead of following it up with novels that beat the message home.

Also recommended: "Count the Stars." I read this years ago, about Jewish children excaping the Holocaust.

Now back to Sharon Kay Penman. Her characters are flawed and often devious but I can rely on them. They never shimmer.