Gathering Blue | Lois Lowry
Kira was never supposed to survive. In her village, deformities and weakness mean certain death, and such people are cast out, abandoned to the Field where the beasts come. But Kira is strong. This is what her mother tells her and it is true. Kira, with her twisted leg, has a gift for embroidery. Because of her gift the Council of Guardians brings Kira to live in the center of the village after her mother dies. Here Kira works to learns the dyeing of thread from different plants from old Annabelle. Here Kira learns the history of her world from the ceremonial robe of the Singer she is tasked with repairing. Here Kira learns that she, and other artists like herself, have the chance to remake the future. Readers are once again inviting to look on a version of our future that may wait for us, and learn about ourselves as human beings along the way.
Physical and Verbal Child Abuse (beating, slapping, etc. Nothing sexual). Man leering at young girl. Dog-eat-dog human interaction. Hints of brutal violence in the past.
I love Gathering Blue, almost more than I love The Giver. I think this is because the character of Kira is such a beautiful example of feminine strength and ability without giving her a sword, a chip on her shoulder, and a mantra to save the world. Because she does save the world in a way; her own tiny world of the village she lives in. This deeply moved me. As much as every girl and boy want to save the world, they can’t. The best any of us can do is to love and live in the place where we are. As Kira gives herself to use her gifts and talents in her own village community, even as an orphan with a twisted leg, her life echoes with tremendous impact on the people around her—Matt, Jo, and Thomas.
Gathering Blue is also a sequel of the strongest kind; loosely tied to the original, The Giver, but completely fresh and new. I love that Lois Lowry creates pockets of what the future could become, with language and color and customs, pulling you down into a believable version of ourselves. And once we are there, Ms. Lowry invites readers to plumb the depths of human failure and success, to look at humanity and all the good and bad choices people make. Her greatest strength in these books is examining the question of why humans beings do such things to each other? And what can be done about it. If you read only one sequel of The Giver, read Gathering Blue. Only as the reader approaches the end of the story does he realize that this might be the same world in which Jonas lives, that his story and Kira’s belong together.
ps. Read my review of The Giver here. Up next is Messenger and Son.