Messenger, by Lois Lowry, Book Review

messengerI did not like this book. It felt dark, unfamiliar and unkind. For such is the world Ms. Lowry created within it. Yet, I could not put it down. It was magnificently crafted, with the beauty and imagery and suspense she is well-known for. And among the dark, tangled evil dwells honor, and compassion, and sacrifice, and a longing for – a desperate attempt at – redemption. So, though I did not care for this futuristic world, I would give my definite recommendation on the strength of Ms. Lowry’s craft.

Messenger is the third in the trilogy that begins with the Newberry-winning story, The Giver. I have read The Giver (and would recommend it), though it too feels dark and hopeless, but I have not read the book in between, Gathering Blue. So I am certain I have missed a great deal. But what Ms. Lowry does, both in The Giver and in Messenger, is stress the importance of goodness and morality by creating a need for it. In her alternate world, she starkly reveals the reality of both in our own world, and she encourages her readers to strive toward making our world a better place.

There is vagueness to Ms. Lowry’s story, or perhaps it is an openness, that allows the reader to bring their own experience to it. She leaves much undefined, so her readers can draw their own conclusions. What is the dark evil that is creeping into the forest? What does Matty’s sacrifice accomplish? As a Christian, I can plug in many of my own beliefs and find a beautiful messiah story within the pages. A survivor of World War II might see the darkness of Nazi Germany and the ultimate victory of the Allied Forces. Others will bring their own stories to it. What Ms. Lowry has done is given us a bittersweet story of triumph with a high cost. You really ought to read it.

My reviews:

Book one: The Giver
Book two: Gathering Blue
And there’s now a Book four: Son

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