Friday, 3 March 2017

Gathering Blue - Lois Lowry

This is a companion volume to The Giver - and there are two more, making a quartet.  But don't think that this follows the story of The Giver on, because is does not.  It isn't meant to.  It is another tale of the future, but a different future.  Perhaps it is a future alongside that of The Giver but in another part of the world, perhaps it is later than the time when The Giver is set....... but importantly, it informs us that power of the few is everything unless we fight it.  

Kira is a girl with a damaged leg.  Right at the beginning we are aware that her mother is dead, and that she is not wanted in her own village by some of it's inhabitants.  She is grieving for her Mother, her Father is long dead, and she will be unable to earn enough credit for food in the weaving shop where she clears the floor of cloth scraps every day.   We see that two things are important, and both things are introduced to the reader in quick succession - she has a friend, a scruffy and dirty little orphan boy called Matt; when having a friend is important, and she meets an elder at a village meeting where she has been accused of being a drain on the village, and eating too much.  The elder offers her hope and a home, for he knows she can sew and embroider and there is an important item of clothing to be repaired and completed.  So she moves into what we would describe as luxurious quarters after the dirt and filth of the mud and wattle huts the villagers live in.  
In those new surroundings, she meets Tom, a boy who is doing a similar job to her, but in wood. He is also an orphan and he is to repair, recarve and complete an historic staff, a staff on which the people's history is recorded.  They have rooms alongside each other, they eat their meals together, and they talk together after their workload is finished for the day.  There is a mystery..... sometimes, in the night, Kira hears a small child crying.  
I do like Lois Lowry's style - a great childrens' and YA author.  This one could be read by good readers of say 9-10 upwards. I am much older than that, and I enjoyed the journey immensely - a real page turner this one, as we hold our breaths and hope that everything turns out alright.