Friday, May 09, 2014

The Giver by Lois Lowry and Messenger by Lois Lowry

On the recommendation of my eleven-year-old daughter Laura, years ago, I read The Giver by Lois Lowry. I remember liking it very much, but I had forgotten much about it until this week. I wanted an audiobook and was striking out in my search for a downloadable nonfiction title from our consortium that I hadn't already read that I wanted to read (we've got far too many books about war!). Just looking at what was recently returned to see if anything would interest me (maybe a classic mystery?), I noticed Messenger by Lois Lowry, book 3 in the series. Not sure whether it made sense to skip book 2, I went ahead and borrowed and downloaded Messenger.

To complicate matters, I then borrowed print copies of The Giver and the second book in the series, Gathering Blue. I thought I might delay listening to the audiobook to read the print books. I really wanted an audiobook, however, when it came time to work in the garden a few days later, and I went ahead and started Messenger. Then in bed the same night, I started The Giver.

Reading two books in a series at the same time, I thought that I might mix details from the stories, but I should not have worried. The settings, characters, and plots are so clear and different that I had no problem. I soon recognized one common character, and it was interesting observing him at two points in his life. Maybe that makes me the Watcher. Naming is important in both books.

Neither utopia-gone-wrong story took me long to finish. The Giver was as good as I remembered, and Messenger its equal. Now I need to fill the gap.

Lowry, Lois. The Giver. Houghton Mifflin, 1993. 180p. ISBN 0395645662.

Lowry, Lois. Messenger. Houghton Mifflin, 2004. 169p. ISBN 0681404414.

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