While I am by no means a teen, except in spirit, I find I really enjoy well-written teen-lit, and I also love seeing young readers discover wonderful stories.
One of the books I had a love-hate relationship with was The Giver, by Lois Lowry. I was enthralled by the characters and by the description of the world they lived in, but I hated the ending! Did the main character live? Did he die? Was what he saw real, a dream, a death vision? “YOU CAN’T STOP NOW!” I bellowed at the book.
Until recently, I snubbed the book, wonderful as it was, because I couldn’t bear to have not the least idea of where it was going. Then I came upon Gathering Blue, ©2000, and Messenger, © 2004. I wouldn’t call them sequels exactly, but they are written about other societies occupying the same period of time as in The Giver.
Gathering Blue takes place in a tiny village where there is nothing but selfishness. People who are sick or who have something someone else wants are simply done away with. A young woman born with a twisted leg is deemed useless as she can’t do any work and no one would choose to marry her. She is saved from death when it is discovered she has a tremendous gift for stitching stories with coloured threads. She must learn which plants she can use for the many colours she will need, she must learn the art of dying various threads, and she must sew stories for the all-powerful Guardians. She and Thomas and Matt, two other young and talented villagers, need to band together to fix a very sick society that the elders have ruined.
The “blue” of Gathering Blue refers to the colour blue, which is only available “yonder”. “Yonder” turns out to be the location of a third village, called Village, the setting of Messenger. Here all the threads (a fitting analogy) are tied together from all three books.
While each tale could stand alone, they fit together like a three-fingered glove.
Am I satisfied with the ending now? Yes and no …, but I am addicted to her writing.
People who enjoy dystopian literature and who want to know how The Giver ended will enjoy these books. They may not answer all your questions!
Adolescent By Nature