Son is the last book in the Giver series by Lois Lowry. This is the book that ties all of our characters together. This is the book that brings Jonas, Kira, Gabe, and Matty together.
Our book starts out in a familiar place. It’s the compound that Jonas used to live in before he ran away. There we meet a young girl named Claire. She’s just turned twelve and is about to be assigned her life assignment. Her assignment is birth mother. Claire knows that she will give birth to babies, but has no idea what this actually means.
Claire is educated for a year or so before being taken to a facility to be inseminated. The process doesn’t take long and it’s not long before it is confirmed that Claire is going to have a baby. Claire knows the baby will go to the nurturing center. It will be raised there for a while and then will be assigned a family. Claire and the other girls share jokes as their bellies grow. When it comes time for her to have the baby, she is put in a mask. Something goes wrong. Claire wakes up with a scar across her stomach. She asks about the product, and the woman tells her that 36 is fine; he is fine. Claire knows that she has a son.
Instead of staying at the birthing center, for two more pregnancies, Claire is sent to the fish hatchery. She will not be a birth mother anymore. Claire tries her best to do her job well and fit in with the others at the fish hatchery. She wonders what her life will be like now that she has switched jobs. She knows a girl who works in the nurturing center and wants to know if her son is fine. Claire sees number 36 after a few lies. He’s fine, but doesn’t sleep well. One of the nurturers at the facility takes to taking him home at night because he’s a fussy sleeper. The nurturer says he already has two children. One is Lilly and the other is Jonas. Claire has heard about Jonas. He’s important for some reason.
Claire eventually finds out that her son is going to be released because he isn’t sleeping through the night. One night there is a big fuss, Claire sees the nurturer who tells her that Jonas has taken the baby elsewhere. Claire leaves. She gets on a boat with strange people and leaves the only land she has ever known.
A legend surrounds her arrival in the small village. They call her Water Claire because they found her in the water. For a long time, she doesn’t remember anything, but then one day she does. She remembers that she has a son and that she wants to find him. The people of the village are simple and look down on her for having had a child at her age and without being married. A crippled man in the village helps Claire prepare to leave to go in search of her son. The only way out of the village that isn’t a boat is to climb up the cliffs that surround the village. The crippled man is the only man who has accomplished the task.
Claire trains for years before being ready. The man tells her that at the top there will be another man in a black cape. He will offer her a deal, if she wants to find her son, she must make the trade. The man making the trade is someone we met in a previous book and the trade comes at a high price to Claire.
Meanwhile, Jonas and Kira have married. They have two children. Matty has been gone for several years now. Gabe is fifteen and lives with other young men. He is determined to leave the village and find out where he came from and if he has a mother. A strange old woman watches Gabe always from a distance. The woman is closer to Gabe than he ever could have imagined. Gabe eventually finds out more about where he came from and is able to help rid the village of a terrible evil along the way.
What I liked
I liked that all our characters ended up being connected. I think it’s neat that Jonas and Kira got married and started a family. I liked that Gabe eventually found out about his mother. I also liked learning about the world of birthmothers in Jonas’ former sterile environment.
I liked how determined Claire was and I liked how a legend grew to surround her.
What I didn’t like
We’ve got more woo-woo factor in this book. It turns out Gabe also has something of a special ability.
Ok, Jonas’ former society is supposed to be a very technologically advanced and knowledgeable society correct? Who in their right mind thinks it’s a good idea to impregnate a fourteen to fifteen year old girl? Look, I get that teenage girls are fertile. They’re more fertile than women of any other age group, that’s part of the reason it’s so easy for teenage girls to end up knocked up. While it is true that teenage girls are really fertile, it’s not true that their bodies are necessarily ready for birthing a child. Some of those girls haven’t finished developing all the way. Maybe their hips aren’t in the position they would be in when the girls were twenty. Maybe their hormones aren’t evened out. The younger a woman is when she is pregnant, the more likely it is that there will be some not-so-good consequences.
This book infers that Claire has had a C-section and that she has also had a hysterectomy. Why is that? Why that is is because Claire was fifteen freaking years old. Fifteen year old girls are not built to have babies. When girls start having babies at thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen years old they’re bodies aren’t ready, even if they are fertile and menstruating, bad things can happen. Girls end up having difficult births and run the possibility of developing fistulas and even dying. For a supposed really intelligent society, these people are idiots. You would think they would have waited until a girl was at least sixteen before making her have babies, but then again, maybe they think there isn’t time since they decide to kill people at sixty or sixty-five years old.
The Trademaster is like a Satan analog. I had never particularly considered The Giver or any of the other books in the series to be religious, but with the explanation of the Trademaster, the series crosses that line. Yeah, it’s great that he’s gone, but he’s gone because Gabe thought good thoughts, pretty much. Oh, he’s just the embodiment of pure evil and he makes people miserable. He offers them things that sound really appealing, but then there is always a price to pay and that price may ruin your life, sounds like Satan to me. That’s exactly what Satan does, if you’re a Satan believer. He also very much reminds me of the man in black from the Dark Tower series by Stephen King.
You can get what you want, but are you willing to pay the price? Will getting what you want change who you are? Hmm…Well, it was still a good book even if some of the ideas sounded like they were right out of a Sunday School lesson.
I still love The Giver. Lois is such an amazing writer. I really enjoy the worlds she creates.
birthmother, claire, gabe, jonas, kira, lois lowry the giver, matty, son, Son by Lois Lowry, The giver by lois lowry, the giver series
Children’s, Coming of age, Family dynamics, Fantasy, Feel-Good, Fiction, Finding Your Self, Lowry-Lois, Mystery, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if, Young Adult