“Gathering Blue” by Lois Lowry is intended to be a companion to “The Giver”, but it really has an entirely different feel about it. While “The Giver” dealt with a future of order, “Gathering Blue” describes a future of chaos and of regression instead of progression. It details survival of the fittest, every man for himself, pressure and strain to meet the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. In this book the main character, Kira, becomes an orphan and is in danger of being cast out as a burden to her community. Intervention saves her and places her in a position of privilege. But those privileges come with strings attached and those strings can become shackles.
***I felt a little adrift as I read this because I was expecting more of a flowing connection from “The Giver”, it isn’t until almost the end when you see any connection to the first book. By the end I felt like I needed to read the third book to see if all the pieces came together in the end, and they do. The next book is called “Messenger”.
(I’m having a hard time categorizing this book because it walks the line of fantasy and science fiction so I’ll just classify it as both.)
“The Giver” by Lois Lowry is a story about a boy named Jonas and the society he lives in, that exists sometime in the future. In order to rid the world of inequality, contention, wars, greed, poverty and selfishness, the society developed sameness. A group of Elders is in charge of enforcing the guiding principles of sameness and all members of the society benefit from it. Each individual is watched and assigned a job. All schooling is strictly regulated and only certain books are available to be read. (propaganda). Families are not developed traditionally. Spouses are determined compatible by the Elders who do the research to make the best decision. Couples can apply for children and may received one boy and one girl. Food allotment is equal and clothing is distributed so that their is no inequality. Even the appearance of color has been regulated and all things are a nondescript neutral shade. It is very controlled, no one goes hungry, all life decisions are lined up neatly in a row. Jonas is on that path and content with it, until he is made the Receiver and then his life and his perception of reality is drastically changed. What do you do if you are the one who wants to defy the whole? What do you do when you see the truth behind closed doors?
******I thought this was an intriguing story and I could see the criticism of socialism and communism in it. Interesting, clever and a quick read.