lois lowry

In case you haven’t realized this before, I love the site Goodreads.  It’s a great way to discover books, read reviews, and — best of all — check out what your friends (real life or Goodreads friends) are reading.   My friend Tracie is one of the few people I know who seems to be almost as addicted to the site as I am.  (She is what I consider a “real life” friend, having known her for nearly 10 years now.  We met at Buckeye Girls’ State, where we spent the week frivolously making fire-women hats while the other girls sought out mock government jobs that probably had a profound impact on their future careers.  But I can safely assure you that no mock fires raged out of hand on our watch — and I’d be willing to bet that we had more fun.)

Tracie recently posted on the book The Giver by Lois Lowry, commenting on how she was pleasantly surprised to find the book just as captivating now as when she was a kid.  Which got me thinking about Lowry in general.  If I were to be an author, hers are exactly the types of books I would love to be able to write — meaningful and thought-provoking, but accessible and, really, ageless.  

Tracie’s description of The Giver as captivating is spot-on;  the novel is the story of Jonas, who lives in a community where citizens are assigned their roles at the age of 12.  But at his assignment ceremony, Jonas isn’t given one of the usual jobs.  Instead, he is named The Receiver, a once-in-a-generation assignment, and is sent to work with The Giver.  It is here that he he begins to learn about the choices his community has made and continues to make, and is forced into making choices of his own.  It’s an amazing journey to follow, and Lowry’s telling of it is impeccable.  

Lowry’s other books are almost as amazing.  I’ve read Number the Stars, a short novel about the Nazi occupation of Denmark and the evacuation of the Jews by the Danish Resistance, more times than I can count, both as a child and adult.  But I discovered other of Lowry’s works long after I was past the target age.  Ideas (and characters) that started with The Giver are continued Gathering Blue, a fascinating novel set in a far more colorful and frightening world, and then The Messenger.  Both are excellent, though the incredible character of Kira in Gathering Blue makes it the stronger of the two, in my opinion.   

Because she’s quite a prolific author, Lowry has many other books, some of which I’ve read (her Anastasia Krupnik books are very funny, though not with the same cross-generational appeal), and others I haven’t.  But it’s the above four that I think are the highlight of her bibliography, and the ones that have permanent homes on my bookshelves.  

(By the way, if you’re on Goodreads, feel free to add me as a friend!  You can find me by searching bookhopping@yahoo.com.)

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~ by Molly on March 5, 2009.

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