So after me taking a ten day (give or take) hiatus I am finally reviewing the conclusion to The Giver. So without further ado, here’s Son.
Claire is a birthmother (remember those from The Giver?) who, after “creating to her first product” (giving birth) and having major problems with it, she is resigned as a worker at the hatchery. During this time she does spend some (illegal) time with her son. During this time she get emotionally attached to him (a no-no in this society.) When she finds out he was taken she goes on a quest to find him and finally be a real mother to him.
This baby is also Gabe. That’s how this book is connected to The Giver.
This book is much longer than the previous three. Where the previous three were around 200 pages this one is 393. It is split into three “books” that tell of certain parts of Claire’s life. Book 1 tells of her failing as a birthmother, working at the hatchery and sneaking out to spend time with her some. Book 2 finds her in a wind swept village with her memories gone. Here she tries to regain her memories and learn things that the community never taught here (colors, emotions, cooking and seeing animals. She gets really frightened of every animal she sees.) In Book 3 we switch to Gabe’s POV where he is building a boat to go and find his mom and his past.
I really expected to cry at the end of this book. I didn’t. That doesn’t mean that the book is terrible. Lowry does a fine job of telling Claire’s story of looking for her son. The most emotional of the scenes has to be at the beginning where we see how these birthmothers give birth. They put a mask over their heads so they can’t see what birthing looks like. Not to mention they had to give a Caesarean (read: open up half her stomach to the point where they leave a huge scar.) Not to mention that entire second book where she has to get her memories.
I had two problems with this book. One is that it feels way too long and drawn out. The second is that Lowry actually makes a last minute villain. The villain is pretty weak in and of itself and the fight was pretty boring.
Of course, there are plenty of themes and symbolism in this book. The of course the whole motherly love thing. Then there’s the huge differences in the community and the wind swept island (despite the obvious.) In the island women die at childbirth whereas that doesn’t happen in the community. People on the island may have a harder time surviving but, unlike the community, there seems to be a better sense of community. Yes, the community may seem like they have a sense of people helping each other but it is artificial. Man made even. There is no emotion in what they do.
This book is also not some easy cash in to the first book. Lowry actually does a fine job of connecting all four books. Claire, Gabe and Jonas are all connected by them all being from the community, Gabe being Claire’s son and Jonas having looked after Gabe back in the community and then taking him away. It feel well done and not something Lowry put together on a weekend.
In all, it’s a pretty great series with The Giver being the best, then Son, Messenger and finally Gathering Blue. These books are worth reading even if you had to read The Giver for class back in elementary school or junior high.