My fifth grader and I both loved this story. I couldn't wait until bedtime to listen--we listened in the car on errands, while cooking and folding laundry. Many times we paused it to talk about what we thought would happen next. There is so much to think about and talk about.
Essentially, the story is about a dystopian community in the Earth's future. The lives of the people in the community are strictly controlled in every aspect. This makes everyone equal to each other, makes life stress-free, and gives all an important role. The story is told from the point of view of an eleven-year-old boy. When he turns twelve he is given the role of "receiver", or keeper of the community's memories. He gradually realizes what the community has given up in order to create such an ordered, peaceful, and equal society. It becomes too much to bear, and he has to take individual action.
My 10 year old and I went right to this one after listening to The Giver. We loved it even more than that one! My daughter read ahead during reading time at school (she checked out the book from the school library) but she would still go back with me to listen to the story so I could keep up. The narrator does a wonderful job of portraying the different voices in the story, which is told from the point of view of children.
Kira is the main character. She is an adolescent girl who is growing up in a harsh and fairly primitive community. This story seems to be set in a dystopian future, after some undescribed calamity has reduced society to a level of subsistence and survival. She is orphaned, alone, and has a twisted leg. She struggles with how to survive in the community that is dominated by the physically strong. Kira is an artist and has a special gift for weaving. The community leaders recognize this ability and take her in for a unique role. However, Kira's freedom of artistic expression is also taken away. She gradually recognizes that life could be different.
The author uses humor and foreshadowing to make the story fun and suspenseful. We enjoyed pausing it to talk about what had happened, what we thought of the different characters, and what we thought would happen next. The story ends in a way that leaves much room for thought and interpretation. We immediately went on to download the third book in this series: The Messenger. I can't wait to start listening to it tonight!
As the parent of a child with dyslexia, I am so happy to have discovered Audible.com. My daughter and I can listen to many interesting and challenging books that are at her intellectual level, which would be very time consuming for her to read in print. We choose books she can check out of her school library and she reads ahead with the printed versions at school. She takes Accelerated Reader tests on the books and earns points just like her classmates, and she is developing a joy of reading that I don't think would be there if she had to struggle through the entire printed book.
I downloaded this because the kids in my carpool to high school AP English were reading it as part of their assignments. I thought they would enjoy listening. And I was wrong. They refused to listen. It was a bit dull.
Being familiar with the story helped in listening to the audio version. It's an intense story, packed with details. I listened with my ten year old and I know she had some trouble following it at times.
I don't think the audio version is better than the print version--but enjoyed listening to the author read the story that is well known to me. It was fun to hear how he imagined the different voices. I think Faith could have been better performed with a female voice.
We would listen to it again. Every book by Andrew Clements is great--fascinating story with a new reader each time to really enhance the narrator's voice.
We Ioved this story and will listen again. Wonderful narration and inspiring story about the power of kids!
The reader's voice was easy to listen to and brought the story to life. The story itself is enjoyable and moves fast.
The narration really brought the story to life. I have read the book in print, but never imagined the characters as vividly as when I listened to the audio version. We started out listening as a family, then my husband and I listened ahead when the kids fell asleep in the car. We didn't mind going back to hear it again when they were awake!
It was fun to listen to someone else read this book. I have read it many times, but had never heard the correct "yorkshire" pronunciation. The "yorkshire" is important to the book, and my experience of this book was greatly enhanced by hearing it. Reading the book can be difficult (especially for a child) because of the dialect, listening to it made all the difference.
There were so many narrators to choose from, so my 10 year old and I listened to sample after sample to narrow it down to this version. I know the story well, but the 10 year old had not read it. We could hardly stop listening.
In this story skinny, cranky, unlovable Mary meets spoiled, sad Collin and through their relationship with each other, and a few down-to-earth friends, heal themselves by turning their attention outward to nature. I love how the children are able to help each other, instinctively figure out what is good and healthy, and keep such a wonderful and important secret safe until they can reveal it to those who are most precious to them.
I love the scene in the secret garden when Collin stands up and walks and the gardener Ben cries.
When they sang the Doxology I was very moved.
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