Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Messenger by Lois Lowry

In Messenger  Lowry has succeeded in writing another haunting tale (in the sense that the story sticks with you long afterwards). Matty is a boy who lives in the Village and delivers messages for Leader. The book is about his discovery of his unique gift and how it ends up saving the community from certain destruction.

While not as good as The Giver I appreciated its many insights into human nature, especially man’s willingness to sell his soul for worthless trinkets. I found the ending a bit disturbing, but realized that it was a “happy” ending in the sense that many more were saved than were lost. In an unreal world everyone is happy without pain. In Lowry’s books pain is a necessary ingredient for growth and beauty.

 I really liked the contrast between the pain inflicted by the forest (with the intent to hurt or kill) and the pain experienced by the people who came to the Village. They were blind, crippled, or birthmarked, but their inner characters were formed by these blemishes. Interestingly, as they sought to free themselves from these flaws they became more and more inhumane.

Having been deeply touched by the ideas and characters in Lowry’s The Giver, I was anxious to read this “sequel”. The main character in Giver is a secondary character in this book (but at least you find out what happens to him). Apparently a secondary character in this book is the main character in the “prequel” called Gathering Blue. I use the words sequel and prequel loosely because all these books can stand alone.  Now I just have to order the third one!

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