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 lau..Show More »ndry. 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 t..Show More »ime 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 have mixed thoughts on this one. I would give it 2.5 stars if I could.
I greatly appreciated how this wove the disparate strands of The Giv..Show More »er, Gathering Blue, and The Messenger together in a coherent way. (I particularly love The Giver.) Even so, Son stands on its own and is fully accessible to someone who hasn't read Lowry's previous works.
The first and second parts, "Before" and "Between," are hauntingly good (and very reminiscent of The Giver), painting first a dystopian society without emotion or individualism, and then contrasting that with a small but thriving community of outcasts who have created family by choice.
Unfortunately, the third section, "Beyond," takes the tale out of the realm of science fiction or even parable and transforms it into a cartoonish allegory that steals much of the meaning and thoughtfulness from the rest of the work. Suddenly the worlds and woes we've encountered aren't because of good intentions gone bad and ignorance of what could be, or even the almost-mindless tyranny of the few over the many (with, more or less, the complicity of that many), but pure "evil." The final confrontation between Gabe (Gabriel? an angel?) and the Trademaster (the fallen, exiled angel?), with its suggestion that we're willing to give away those parts of ourselves we should treasure most, has all the subtlety of a heavy brick to the head.
I was pleased that the love of a mother for her son, and of that son for his mother - loves that would have been deemed "selfish" and wrong in the world of "Before" - end up saving not only these two individuals, but also their entire community. I only wish this could've been conveyed without trading Lowry's deft touch for a sledgehammer.
Lowry's gift is raising and wrestling with difficult questions, and the first two sections of Son continue in this tradition beautifully. It's unfortunate that she ends this series with somewhat last-minute and trite answers