Book Review – Son by Lowis Lowry

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Title: Son
Author: Lowis Lowry
Print Length: 405 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0547887205
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reissue edition (October 2, 2012)
Language: English
ASIN: B008454X2Y
Amazon Review: 4.5/5 stars

I borrowed this book from my local library

Book blurb as seen on

They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive? She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice. Son thrusts readers once again into the chilling world of the Newbery Medal winning book, The Giver, as well as Gathering Blue and Messenger where a new hero emerges. In this thrilling series finale, the startling and long-awaited conclusion to Lois Lowry’s epic tale culminates in a final clash between good and evil.

The stories we love best do live in us forever – J.K. Rowling at the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 London Premier (July 2011)

While this is so true, I think good ole’ J.K. forget one thing. Some stories haunt us forever. Son by Lowis Lowry is one such book. In fact, the entire Giver Quartet applies.

I can still remember the first time I encountered The Giver several years ago. My then teenage nephew recommended I read it after having been required to read it in an English class. Nephew and I enjoyed talking books: Harry Potter, Eragon. So when he suggested it, I listened. Especially since it didn’t sound like the same sort of books he usually read and he was very emphatic about this story.

Since I was doing a lot of driving at the time,  I picked up audio books from my library to pass the time. The Giver took such firm hold of my imagination and my emotions I couldn’t wait for the next drive to hear the ending. I popped it in the CD player while folding laundry one afternoon. I had solitude because Minions #1 & 2 were at school and I think I might have been pregnant for Minion #3. Anyway, I was absent-mindedly folding socks and T-shirts while I listened in fear and suspense to the ending of The Giver.

For those of you who have read, you’ll know what I am talking about. For those of you who haven’t, I won’t ruin anything, but it was a cliffhanger. Except, I wasn’t sure. Desperately I searched the CD case for the missing disc. It couldn’t end like that! Had someone forgotten to put a disc back? How could my trusted librarian have put it back on the shelf with a missing disc?! But no, there were just enough CDs for the slots allotted. It was not missing a disc.

Incensed, fearful, heartbroken, I pulled out my computer and fired up the trusty internet. Tear were rolling unbidden down my cheeks, the laundry forgotten. My only concern was discovering the fate of Jonas and Gabe. How could Lowry do this to me? It was cruel. it was heartless. I was deeply affected.

When I discovered there were two more books in the series, I was able to calm my ragged emotions, but needless to say I had to read those books and soon. Neither of the next two left me disappointed either. The stories are moving, the characters complex and believable, and the underlying messages both disturbing and beautiful. Lowry has the power to take away from a character that which we prize the most deep in our hearts, but maybe take for granted. The reader is left moved and changed by the experience of reading her lovely prose and heart shattering stories. Even her happy endings are bittersweet, as any true life journey should be.

My expectations were high when I found Son at my library. It had been years since I had read her other books, and based on some recent experiences of completing a series I once loved, only to be disappointed in the writing, I was nervous. Would this be ruined for me too? I hoped not, because my intense memories of Lowry’s previous books are treasured, if poignant and troubling. I did not want this experience taken from me.

I was not disappointed. In fact, Son may have been even more special to me because of the subject matter. Having had five children of my own, I could empathize with Claire’s loss and love. When she begins to become attached to her Product, I cheer for her emotions to take root, growing into the loving tree I know motherhood to be. Okay, that might have been a little bit of purple prose, and motherhood is not always blooming flowers and sunshine, but we’ll forget that for now.

The reader is reintroduced to many characters from the other three books, tying up story lines that may have been left untended. We see Jonas’ father from a different perspective, which was a great touch as his reactions from Jonas’ view were disturbing to me. They are still disturbing, but seeing more of him, understanding more was a special treat I enjoyed.

Other than a slightly lagging middle, and I say only slightly, because I was anxious for Claire to find her son, the suspense and tension move the story along smoothly. It had me reading frantically through the last quarter of the book (much as I did for the previous novels) in a rush to know the story. But finding her son is not the only plot line, and as I said before, the other characters are wrapped up, if not with a bow, at least neatly. Lessons are learned, prices are paid, and while I was satisfied with the ending, it still left me with sorrow for all that had been lost. These are the stories that haunt us forever. Those that end with a new beginning, but do not erase the pain of the journey.

My review: 4.5/5 stars (1/2 point for that lagging middle)

Please share your thoughts if you have read any of The Giver Quartet. Even if you didn’t love them. I’ll try not to hold it against you! 🙂 But I’d love to hear whether you enjoyed them as I did.

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Buy Messenger (Giver Quartet) on


3 thoughts on “Book Review – Son by Lowis Lowry

  1. I ADORED The Giver, enjoyed Gathering Blue, felt so-so about Messenger and… unfortunately, I only tolerated Son. I thought the story reallllllllllly draaaaaaaaaaged and also it didn’t seem possible that no one noticed that Claire wasn’t taking the pills anymore? I mean, this place is supposed to be super-organized and it seems weird and non-canon that it was overlooked.


    • I thought that too about the pills except for one thing. When things didn’t go according to plan in that community people would get very confused and flustered. In such a case I can see them overlooking it because it wasn’t something that happened often and they wanted to just brush it under the rug and move on like nothing happened. Besides, it was generally the parents who started them on the pills. That’s why they always discussed their dreams. One of my hang ups was the place where Water Claire washed up and the only way out was a cliff? I know it was symbolic and I think that is what you have to focus on with these stories. They have a surreal quality and are best enjoyed when you suspend disbelief for the world they live in. 🙂


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