by Lois Lowry
I fell in love with Lois Lowry as a young girl when I read The Giver. Since that time, and after dozens and dozens of other books, The Giver remains on my list of all time favorites. As Kira was introduced in Gathering Blue my mind immediately connected her character with that of Jonah from The Giver. Although the village of Kira’s childhood differed drastically with that from Jonah’s the mentality was very much the same (I later found out why after reading The Messenger).
The story begins as Kira is tending to her recently deceased mother’s grave. She is uncertain as to what will happen to her without any family to live with. Kira is crippled and walks with a stick. The village members had ordered her to be killed at birth when her deformity was discovered but her mother adamantly refused. In Village, no weaknesses are tolerated and everyone must be capable of proving his worth to the community.
After four days spent at her mother’s grave Kira is greeted by an angry mob of neighbors anxious to burn down her house, arguing that the death illness must be destroyed. Kira fights back pointing out the fact that no other village members have been sick, but her efforts are in vain. She has only a moment to run inside and grab a few personal items before retreating to the streets to watch her home crumble to the ground. Within minutes of the flames being extinguished a neighbor moves in and claims the charred space.
Kira’s mother had been a seamstress and had taught Kira from a very young age to decorate cloth with beautiful threads in all colors, except blue. The local dye woman had not yet been able to discover the proper foliage to create blue. At times Kira felt her abilities had special powers that she could neither control nor understand. Although she was not strong she had a useful talent and hoped for an opportunity to use her skills to support her.
Gathering Blue is a beautifully written story about a strong and willful girl who discovers an awful truth about the village elders and the unique practices she has observed all of her life. Even when faced with an opportunity to relocate to a more honorable place with a lost family that loves her, Kira chooses a path that is unexpected but speaks wonders for her outstanding character.
Historical Value – 0
Emotional Value – 4
Entertainment Value – 4
Personal Character Value – 4
Age Recommendation – 12-100