ARC (Advance Reading Copy). To be published October 2, 2012. The Giver #4. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 393 pp.
In 1993, Lois Lowry gave us “The Giver,” in which we learned of a society governed by rules and lack of personal choice. In 2000, we read of a futuristic society which shunned the weak in “Gathering Blue.” When Lowry published “The Messenger” in 2004, evil made its debut into these societies. Nineteen years later, we now have “Son,” the final book in the Giver quartet, Lowry combines all the beloved characters of her first three books, weaving their lives together to create one final thrilling read.
In her village along the river, twelve-year-old Claire was assigned to become a Birth Mother. After being artificially inseminated the birth of her first child was complicated, so she was reassigned. Unable to forget the child that was taken from her, Claire traced little Gabe to a nursery and spent her free time getting to know him. No one in the village had feelings or independent thoughts as these were destroyed by a daily pill. However, since Claire had not been assigned pills through some sort of clerical error, she found herself falling in love with her son and experiencing feelings of want and loneliness.
When Gabe was taken from the village by Jonas, Claire felt compelled to leave and find him. Along her journey, she lost her memories but would never lose the love a mother feels for her child. “Son” traces her desperate journey to reunite with Gabe once more.
The strangeness of a world where feelings don’t matter, contrasted with the ordinariness of the emotions in a world we take for granted, gives readers of “Son” much food for thought. Once again Lowry has outdone herself, and I expect “Son” will be a 2013 Newbery award candidate. Fans of The Giver series, and students age 11-14, will enjoy reading to its satisfying conclusion.