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Son Audiobook

Son

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Publisher's Summary

"They called her Water Claire."

When the young girl washed up on their shore, no one knew she had been a Vessel. That she had carried a Product. That it had been carved from her belly. Stolen.

Claire had had a son. She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. When he was taken from their community, she knew she had to follow. And so her journey began.

But here in this wind-battered village Claire is welcomed as one of their own. In the security of her new home, she is free and loved. She grows stronger. As tempted as she is by the warmth of more human kindness than she has ever known, she cannot stay. Her son is out there; a young boy by now. Claire will stop at nothing to find her child...even if it means trading her own life.

With Son, the two-time Newbery Medal - winning Lois Lowry has spun another mesmerizing tale in this thrilling and long-awaited conclusion to The Giver.

©2012 Lois Lowry (P)2012 Listening Library

What the Critics Say

"Claire's story stands on its own, but as the final volume in this iconic quartet, it holistically reunites characters, reprises provocative socio-political themes, and offers a transcending message of tolerance and hope." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (910 )
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4.4 (793 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Amy 01-28-13
    Amy 01-28-13 Member Since 2007
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    "A great "build up" to a "let down"!"

    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 Giver, 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

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike 09-14-16
    Mike 09-14-16 Member Since 2017
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    "This book is phenomenal!!"

    I was blown away by how in depth this book went. it answered so many questions that I've had for years! although it ended ubruptly I couldn't have left it better.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dariush 02-03-15
    Dariush 02-03-15
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    "Loved it"

    Enjoyable well written story. Fell in love with the characters from the beginning.
    Loved how the four books tied into each other.
    Smooth and professional narration.
    So satisfying.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mik Rittella Stafford , VA 07-27-14
    Mik Rittella Stafford , VA 07-27-14 Member Since 2014
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    "I don't give out 5 stars often!"
    What did you love best about Son?

    This is the final book in the "Giver" trilogy and I don't know why I just found out about it! There are many themes in it relevant to society today but you don't have to delve deeply or use a study guide to get into this book. Great story of perseverance and love in a dystopian society that does not include vampires and werewolves. Or zombies. There are still supernatural "gifts" but they are only a small part of this story that takes place in three separate, very different communities.


    What other book might you compare Son to and why?

    The Handmaiden's Tale, or 1984. Big brother is trying to simplify things and make people feel safer by taking away civil and even human rights. Scary!


    What does Bernadette Dunne bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Her timing and intonation as she reads, along with the way she alters her voice for each character brings them to life. You hear her voice and you want to comfort Claire or shackle the Trade Master.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    This is a tough question because anything I can think of right now sounds corny. Maybe,
    "In a dystopian world, love and perseverance conquer ignorance and manipulation to find and define family."


    Any additional comments?

    Read "The Giver" and "The Messenger" first so you get the most out of this book. Happy listening:+)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ZAQ 10-29-12
    ZAQ 10-29-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Not a huge fan..."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I only bought this book because I had read the other three stories in this series. I would only recommend this book to someone who has read the other three, only to finish the series. Quite honestly this book did nothing for me to wrap up the original story of "The Giver" I think that this book was only written to please those people that pressured Lowery to tell us what happened to Jonas and Gabe. I became increasingly agitated with the progress of the story/ the characters: Claire took seven years to finally talk to someone about her being there; six years to gain the strength to climb a mountain; chapters talking about the climbing of the mountain in what was only a days journey, discussing every notch, nook, and cranny. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed Book One as it was detailing Claire's life, bringing us back to the community we first learned about in "The Giver".


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Not impressed. Maybe I'm too dim witted but I have no idea the point of the Trade Master. Plus, we took forever with the journey of Claire and the ending was far to quick and easy.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Bernadette Dunne’s performances?

    No.


    Do you think Son needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. Everyone lived happily ever after. Although, I'd love to learn more about the Community we first learned about, certainly does not need to be anything about the three main charters, but more of its beginnings and future.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KassyD 01-17-15
    KassyD 01-17-15
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    "Wonderful story"

    I thoroughly enjoyed The Giver series. The narrator did a fabulous job. highly recommend if you liked The Giver.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tara Norfolk, VA, United States 04-03-13
    Tara Norfolk, VA, United States 04-03-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Mother of Gabe..."

    This is the story of the mother of the baby from The Giver...confused? If you have read The Giver you won't be, if you have not you should (and the other two books; Gathering Blue and Messanger) before you read this one. I would assume it can stand alone, but it is all the much richer with the background from the other books. Vivid descriptions, raw emotions and hard choices are at the core of this book. The love of a mother can drive even an emotionally deprived girl from the Giver community to embark on a quest of epic proportions.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Library United States 11-04-12
    Library United States 11-04-12 Listener Since 2005
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    "a bit slow-going"

    I can't place why this book seemed to be so draggy--I have read all the other three in the series and The Giver was so good, I was hoping for more from this. I think perhaps the author simply chose to write for a 4th grade audience and kept her vocabulary and situations at that level. There was a great deal of over-explanation and repetition that an adult reader would not appreciate, but certainly it would be good for children.
    An example would be something like getting introduced to a character and a fact about him, and then in the next chapter, the same fact is repeated in an different way, like within the narrative, "She remembered that he had lost his mother as a child and therefore..." it just really seemed for younger children than her previous books so I was disappointed.

    And there is a lot of suspension of disbelief --not because it takes place in an alternate society, but because certain things seem too unlikely even within that society.

    The narrator has a sort of odd, cheery tone, particularly in the beginning, and it is clear she is trying to channel the freakishly happy dystopian society, so there is a reason for it, however, it was somewhat annoying to me.

    I was also not satisfied with the ending as I think it was resolved very quickly and artifically. I believe Lowry is a good enough writer to be able to have made the ending more complex.



    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justice h campbell 10-09-17 Member Since 2017
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    "The editor must have taken the day off"

    1/4 of the book is about climbing a wall? Subpar narrator - either the first or second narrators would have been better. The story is decent, the conclusion semi-satisfying, but overall ... the book is far longer than it should have been.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jefferson 10-01-17
    Jefferson 10-01-17 Member Since 2010
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    "Empathy with the Devil, or 'A Mum Loves Her Child'"

    The final member of Lois Lowry's Giver Quartet, Son (2012), is a recapitulation of the main genres of the earlier three novels, being itself comprised of three 'books,' the first an sf dystopia like The Giver (1993), the second a post-apocalypse story like Gathering Blue (2000), and the third a Christian allegory like Messenger (2004). Son is the capstone to the Quartet, but Lowry includes in it enough backstory from the first three works to ensure that readers new to her series can understand this one on its own.

    'Book One: Before' begins about a year before the events of The Giver, and depicts the appalling emotional and reproductive control that the community Elders exercise over their people. Claire is an innocent 14-year-old girl who's been assigned to be a 'Birthmother' without being told what it entails. Like all 'Productions' in the community, hers is achieved artificially. This ensures more control over reproduction and is necessary anyway because the emotion-suppressing medication everyone must take at the onset of puberty makes sexual and other love impossible. During deliveries the 'Vessels' are blindfolded to prevent them from seeing their 'Products.' Claire's difficult delivery requires her doctors to cut her belly open, and she realizes that they care more for the Product than for the Vessel. Because of such complications, Claire is decertified as Birthmother and assigned a new career in the Fish Hatchery. There is no question of her seeing her Product, because this is never done. Due to an oversight by the Elders in charge of her case, Claire does not go back on her medication and thus feels a deep loss, sadness, and loneliness. Occasionally volunteering at the Nurturing Center, she is able to spend some precious time with her Product, her boy, number 36--concealing that she is his mother. This is the best section in the novel: devastating.

    'Book Two: Between' depicts Claire ending up in a small, unindustrialized fishing village, learning there about seasons, precipitation, colors, animals, illness, and love (none of which were present in her old community), resolving to find her son, and undergoing (with the guidance of a sweet, lame young man) intense physical training to become able to attempt to climb a forbidding cliff to leave the fishing village. If successful, she'll have to decide whether or not to make an appalling bargain with the satanic Trademaster from Messenger. This is the second-best section: compelling.

    'Book Three: Beyond' is narrated from the point of view of 15-year-old or so Gabe in the Village of Messenger as he works on his pet project, making a boat in which to sail back to the community that Jonas rescued him from 14 or so years ago, all to find his Birthmother, who, unbeknownst to him is in Village watching him with a 'fierce, knowing intimacy.' Jonas, who can see Beyond, senses Trademaster malevolently monitoring Gabe. Will Gabe be able to mature into a sun of a son? Son, like the quartet as a whole, then, morphs away from a political or social exploration of dystopia into an allegory of human nature confronting evil while being enriched by love, especially maternal love. This is the third-best section: too obviously and easily allegorical.

    Does Son bring the quartet together and conclude it satisfyingly? Yes--but I found it less ambiguous than The Giver, less absorbing than Gathering Blue, less moving than Messenger, and less tight than the previous three novels. Lowry summarizes a bit more of the first part in the second and third parts than is necessary. And like most YA (still today) her novel lacks people of color and different sexual orientations and after all ends up rather conservatively regarding gender with a Son rather than a Daughter. (Indeed, despite the presence of strong Kira in Gathering Blue and Claire here, the saviors and leaders of Lowry's quartet are male.) There are also some things that don't hold together so well. It's hard to believe that Jonas' high tech community would not have made more of an impact on the less developed communities or vice versa. Given their close relationship in The Giver, I'd expect Jonas and Gabe to be living together in Village (even if when Jonas showed up with Gabe he didn't think he was mature enough to raise a baby). Perhaps plot is overruling character here.

    Mind you, Son is an ambitious, strong novel! Lowry avoids typical YA moves like romantic triangles, violent action scenes, and obvious punishments for villains. I like Gabe calming a stormy river by saying, 'I cannot kill.' I like the supernatural gifts of the main characters being less about physical strength and more about insight. (Gabe's gift is 'veering,' an extreme form of empathy.) She depicts flawed but essentially good people we care about. She excels at dramatic irony, as with Gabe's burning desire to go find his mother when she's living in Village with him.

    Bernadette Dunne reads the audiobook well. Apart from doing a creepy malevolent Trademaster, she doesn't change her voice dramatically for characters of different genders or ages or cultures, but just imbues each character's voice with the appropriate emotions and agendas etc. for each moment.

    Readers of the first three books MUST read this last one, and though I still think The Giver should have been left to stand alone in its austere ambiguity--I am glad to have read all of the quartet, filled as it is of limpid writing, appealing characters, moving stories, and serious themes.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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