Family dynamics, Fantasy, Fiction, Lowry-Lois, what if, Young Adult

#498 Gossamer by Lois Lowry

Gossamer by Lois LowryGossamer by Lois Lowry

What are dreams made of exactly and how to you have them? To be more precise, what exactly is the process by which you dream? The thing is, we don’t know. We sort of know, but we don’t know exactly how and why we dream. Our lack of knowledge leads to all kinds of speculation about how dreams come to be, maybe the reality isn’t anything as whimsical as this story, but you never know.

Small creatures sneak about in a house in the dark. They’re practically see through. They’re not dogs, this much Littlest One has determined. Littlest is on her training. She’s learning how to give dreams to people as they sleep.

This process involves very lightly touching items in the house to receive fragments of memories and feelings. Littlest one will then use these fragments to give dreams to people by blowing in their ears or noses. Littlest is said to have a gossamer touch. The house she is training in is inhabited by one lady and her dog. There is a lot on the woman’s mind here recently. She’s thinking of taking in a foster boy.

The elderly dream givers fear a horde is coming. When a dream giver goes bad they turn into something called sinisteed. It looks like a horse and goes around giving people nightmares. Sometimes multiple sinisteeds congregate together to attack one person and this is called a horde. The dream givers cannot fight the sinisteeds and must simply watch on as horrible nightmares are inflicted on people.

The boy moves into the woman’s house; his name is John and he’s quite angry. He has been taken away from his mother, but his father was abusive and he’s just going through a lot of things. He is angry at the lady, but she is always patient with him no matter what. A sinisteed senses the weakness of the boy and comes to give him nightmares, but everyone knows a horde is coming. Littlest suggests strengthening the boy so the nightmares will not hurt him as much. Littlest is able to accomplish this at great risk to herself; she’s even reward for her heroics, but she soon learns she will not be the Littlest anymore and she will leave the boy she has learned to care for, but she is told that she isn’t human and she should not feel human emotions. Littlest takes comfort in the fact that she will always be in the boy’s heart.

What I liked

We really don’t know exactly why or how we dream. So of course we can make up all this stuff about dreams and where they come from. Lois’ explanation is neater than some. If you recall Roald Dahl wrote about The BFG who gave dreams to people. The idea of dream-giving is a subject writers have explored for a while. It’s really a fascinating thing. We play these seemingly random stories in our heads when we’re sleeping. What for? To what end? Does it actually accomplish anything?

I think the world that Lois imagined up is pretty neat. She created this entire race of beings that give people dreams.

What I didn’t like

John needs a smack. This little boy talks terribly to the woman who is trying to shelter him and give him a good life. He calls her stupid. Let me tell you something…it is not kosher to call someone older than you stupid, specifically if you are a child, meaning…if you’re under eighteen, you better not be calling anyone older than you stupid. It’s rude. It’s disrespectful. Generally, someone who is older than you are, knows more than you do and has more life experience, granted, this isn’t always the case, but most of the time, that older person has been through a lot more than you have and has much more insight on a situation than you do.

In fact, you shouldn’t be calling anybody stupid. We throw the word stupid around like it’s a “sentence enhancer,” but, you know what, it’s an insult. It’s an insult to anybody. It’s not even a word that can be used to compliment someone in any way. You can say someone’s a geek and still sort of be paying them a compliment, but you can’t do that with the word stupid. The word stupid insults everybody all around. Nobody wants to be stupid. It’s rude to insult someone’s intelligence. It’s rude to insult anybody for any reason at all, but insulting someone’s intelligence is kind of a big deal.

The point is, someone needs to be some respect into this boy. I know he hasn’t had the easiest life and he probably doesn’t actually respect his parents. I get that; I wouldn’t respect my parents either in the situation that John was in. Even with all of that said, this boy needs to learn to respect the adults in his life and stop calling them terrible names. That’s probably the entire reason he had already been through several foster homes.

People foster children out of the goodness of their hearts. They don’t have to do it. With their own children, they would kind of have to take care of them no matter what, or at least that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s sad to say, but, if you are a foster child and you’re acting up for the very people who are trying to give you a home, then it’s kind of your fault if you don’t get to stay. In a perfect world we would all have boundless amounts of patience with one another, but the world isn’t perfect.


The idea of bestowing dreams is a neat idea.

Weigh in

What kind of dreams would you bestow on a person if you had the ability to do so?

Do you feel that nightmares and good dreams come from the same place?

bad dreams, dream givers, dreams, good dreams, gossamer, Gossamer by Lois Lowry, gossamer touch, john, littlest, lois lowry, nightmares, sinisteed, toby the dog
Family dynamics, Fantasy, Fiction, Lowry-Lois, what if, Young Adult


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