I think The Giver (Louis Lowry) was my first foray into dystopian-future-YA. I read it with my ‘gifted’ English class in seventh grade. And, ermagard…I freakin’ loved it. I’m pretty sure I stole that book. Let’s just pretend I bought my own copy. And then re-read it like a bajillion times. And then I read Gathering Blue, which was pretty good, in a different way, and then The Messenger, which was kind of ‘eh,’ and now I’ve just finished Son.
Son, according to GoodReads, is the conclusion of this series. That being said, I was really looking for some ANSWERS Lowry. Some ‘tie-everything-together-answer-my-big-questions’ CONCLUSIONS.
Did she deliver?
The time frame of Son overlaps that of The Giver–Claire is just three years older than Jonas. She’s disappointed to be given the community role of Birthmother in the Twelve Year Ceremony (I remember it being described as a job for dummies in The Giver), but what can you do, babies gotta be made. However, she has some difficulties with her first ‘product,’ and ends up with an emergency c-section and a one-way ticket to the Fish Hatchery (sounds like the worst job ever). While there she starts to experience ‘feelings,’ and ‘yearnings.’ Remember the magic pills (from The Giver) that make you not feel things in your hearts and bikini bottoms? Well, they forgot to get Claire a prescription for those.
Claire is continually drawn to the childcare center to play with/stare at Product Thirty-Six (her son, Gabe). When Jonas disappears with Gabe, Claire hops a ride with a supply boat, hoping to find them in the Elsewhere.
Instead, Claire ends up on in a secluded fishing village with amnesia. Water Claire (they call her because she came from the water, in case you couldn’t put that together), lives with the herbalist Alys, and tries to remember things from her old life. This is difficult, especially when you’re also learning colors for the first time, and are terrified of cows. Then, when assisting with a birth, she remembers Gabe and she’s like ‘ack! I forgot I was looking for my lost son!’
One of the villagers, a lame shepherd, helps train her (for the next six years) to be super-duper strong so she can climb the sheer cliff outta there. Einar is like her Jillian Michaels. Bitch gets shredded. She’s finally ready to climb (yes, I realize she could also sail out of there in a boat, being as they are a fishing village surrounded by water. And boats. And sailors. That’s not how she wants to do it okay? RESPECT HER PROCESS).
Einar helpfully mentions to her at the last moment that a strangely dressed man will meet her at the top and offer to help her, for a price. TOTES AGREE TO IT, Einar says. THIS IS WHY I ONLY HAVE ONE FOOT NOW. Thanks Einar for just now sharing this info. I would have used the time I spent doing one-arm push-ups learning to jib a sail instead. You suck.
So, climb, climb, climb, at the top, a strange smelly man wearing a bowler hat (I think?) asks Claire if she’d like to trade something for help finding her son. Thinking she’s being all clever, Claire is all, but I am poor, I have nothing to give! Rookie mistake Claire. Rumplestiltskin would have OWNED you. Instead, the Tradesman just takes her youth.
Fast-forward to pubescent Gabe. Building a boat by the river, out to find his mother who he is sure loves him, even though Jonas assures him that is probably not the case. Boat building sure would be easier if this old lady wasn’t constantly watching me from the trees, Gabe thinks to himself. Jeez, is that creepy.
Old lady Claire feels like she’s probably going to die soon. She’s been in this village for a while now, but finally feels like, maybe, before she DIES she should tell someone she’s Gabe’s madre. She starts with Jonas. He is kind of dubious, but he had his own run-in with the Tradesman (see previous book), and believes her. Gabe is kind of not so sure, but Jonas’ tells him it is his destiny to kill the Tradesman once and for all and relieve the community of his EVIL.
At this moment, I am looking down at my book’s page numbers. There’s like ten pages left. Not a lot of time to track down a killer evil dude and do some justice on his ass. How is this going to work?
OHHHH. Iseewhatyoudidthere. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Did you have a word limit? Because after a buildup of four novels I expected the vanquishing to be more difficult than a few sentences. At least Claire is young again?? Is that all we get Lowry??
Here are some questions maybe SOMEONE can help me answer:
1. In the first and second books, I was led to believe this was post-apocolyptic America (or Earth or whatever). But with the last two, I’m just not so sure anymore. Magic mindpowers, Evil dressed like Don Draper? WHERE ARE THEY?
Because if it’s NOT a biodome, it wouldn’t make any sense how they could control the weather, and make everything colorless, and keep all animals (including insects) out. Am I right? AM I?
3. The color thing. This bothers me so much. In The Giver, I was led to believe that everyone was just colorblind, that’s why Jonas starts to see flashes of red in the apple and in his girlfriend’s hair when he starts to get his special powers. But then, when Claire escapes to the new community, she can see the colors, she just doesn’t know what they are. So this leads me to believe that the original Community has somehow just made everything (including the people), grayscale. But then how do Claire and Jonas not look like sepia-toned freaks in the real world? How was Jonas seeking red in the apple if the apple was never red!!?! My mind. is. broken.
4. Who is controlling these places? The community, the world?! Surely they have some sort of government that must be aware of the other communities. Why aren’t they fighting with each other, and how do they not know about the other ones? I can understand a few under wraps, but there have to be some that trade with each other. For instance, the supply boat goes to Jonas/Claire’s community as well as multiple other ones. In The Giver, the old man mentions ‘the scientists,’ which I always believed must be the secret force behind the community that no one knew about. This was never mentioned again. Someone has to be masterminding this shit.
Any answers? Any ideas? Please help!