Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Book Review: Gathering Blue

Author: Lois Lowry

Pages: 215

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Sci. Fi & Fantasy

Personal Rating: 4.5/5

From the back cover:

Kira, an orphan with a twisted leg, lives in a world where the weak are cast aside. When she is given a task that no other community member can carry out, Kira soon realizes that she is surrounded by many mysteries and secrets. No one must know of her plans to uncover the truth about her world—and to find out what exists beyond it.
Loved it! Once again, Lowry has created an “alternate” world after the destruction of our own many, many, many years earlier. This world though is one that has regressed. Sick or dying members of the community are dragged to the Field and are left there. If they have any children they are given away. Men go out for food, women stay home with the tykes. Before Kira is orphaned her mother and her just ate vegetables and fish they could catch from the stream. There was no man to hunt for meat since Kira’s dad had been killed by Beasts years earlier during a hunt. No one helps a widow and her crippled child. In their opinion that child should have been put in the Field after its birth.

The story starts with Kira sitting with her dead mother in the Field. She has been dead for four days and Kira has been doing the four days of watching (the spirit). She has no family and is all alone, she decides she will rebuild her cot (house) herself and start her life. She knows she may face opposition from the women of the village who see her as useless. They want her space/land to pen up their tykes. When she gets back to her cot, which has been burnt down to rid it of illness another women is pillaging the vegetable garden. She is nearly stoned by the women of the village but they decide to take her before the Council of Elders as is “proper procedure” when there is a conflict.

From here it is realized that Kira has a special gift in weaving and she is taken to live in the Council Edifice. Her job will be to fix the stitching on The Singer’s Robe. As you move into the Edifice with Kira you meet Thomas the Carver, learn about the Robe, the Singer and the Gathering Ceremony and discover little Jo, the tyke who will eventually become the new singer. But as the back cover says “Kira soon realizes she is surrounded by many mysteries and secrets.” Not everything is as it seems.

I loved the characters. Lowry does a wonderful job developing them. I read a little of the readers guide in the back and she talks about bringing one called Mattie back in a later book (The Messenger?). I didn’t realize there was a guide so I was startled when the story stopped. A little abruptly in my opinion. I liked the abrupt ending in The Giver, but I don’t think it fits as well here. To explain more would be to give away the story so I won’t. I think most readers young and older again will find this book enjoyable. I have two more Lowry books I need to read for a challenge and I’m definatley looking forward to both of them.


Jeane said...

I have not been too fond of Lowry's books for some reason, but this one looks very interesting and I am going to put it on my TBR.

Juli said...


Have you read The Messenger or Number the Stars? They are next on my list for her.

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