Today’s post comes from YAB member Molly who recently read “Son” by Lois Lowry. The novel comes nearly twenty years after the release of “The Giver,” and offers a conclusion to the classic story. Claire, a fourteen-year-old girl who’s from the same community as Jonas (from “The Giver”), is assigned to be a birth mother, but something goes wrong when she’s birthing the child and she’s reassigned to a new job. However, Claire misses the child desperately and decides she’ll do everything she can to find her son. The story is about her journey to reunite with her son and it has a heavy, yet captivating tone as Molly explains below.
YAB Review: “Son” By Lois Lowry
Probably one of the more glaring gaps in my middle grade literary education is the fact that I’ve never read “The Giver,” so I had no background when I was thrown into the world of “Son,” a world where birth mothers give birth to “products” and never actually see their children. The world of the story is dark in other ways too; its citizens don’t just lack emotion, they lack any kind of strong ties to family and friends. This is also a world without animals.
Sum It Up…
“Son” tells the story of Claire, a fourteen-year-old selected to be a birth mother. When giving birth to her first “product,” something goes wrong and she has a c-section. The baby is healthy, but she’s reassigned to another job as soon as she recovers. Because of the unusual career change, Claire never begins taking the pills that keep the people where she lives devoid of emotion, and she longs for her child — a son. She begins to volunteer at the child care center to visit him, doing this for a year. But when it’s time for her boy to be assigned a family, he’s deemed too disruptive and sentenced to death. Before Claire can think of a plan to save him, he’s stolen to safety by someone else, and Claire ends up on a ship, then shipwrecked in a strange but friendly village with no memory of her past.
When were you hooked?
As soon as Claire arrives at the new village, the reader is introduced to an interesting cast of characters, all with back stories, hopes, and plans for this new girl they’re rescuing from the sea. Before Claire gets her memories back, she assimilates into the community fairly quickly. When her memories return, however, she begins a yearlong journey to prepare to leave the village she’s come to love and make a dangerous journey to find her son. This change in Claire — her intensity — had me hooked.
“Son” was beautifully written and not without happy moments, but overall, really heavy. It’s the kind of book that will stay with you for days as you wonder about what it says about human nature, society, and the future of society. I highly recommend it, but it should probably be chased with a light comedy.
Molly is a freelance writer who’s covered everything from Wrock concerts to classic lit, though she specializes in geeky lists and book reviews. An aspiring YA author, when not writing she can normally be found reading the latest contemporary YA novel or re-reading Harry Potter. Born and raised in Bristol, CT, she now lives in New York City and while she loves the excitement and the culture, she sometimes misses Connecticut’s trees.