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Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

Gathering Blue (original 2000; edition 2012)

by Lois Lowry

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4,987167920 (3.77)235
Title:Gathering Blue
Authors:Lois Lowry
Info:Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (2012), Edition: Reissue, Hardcover, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Novel, Fiction, Inspiring

Work details

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (2000)

  1. 00
    The Giver by Lois Lowry (ashleeeyyy88)
  2. 00
    Crewel by Gennifer Albin (Jthierer)
    Jthierer: Similar theme of a girl's talent for weaving singling her out in a dystopian society.
  3. 00
    Long Night Dance by Betsy James (FutureMrsJoshGroban)
    FutureMrsJoshGroban: Another fantastic story with a somewhat dystopian society and a strong young heroine.
  4. 00
    The Unnameables by Ellen Booraem (fyrefly98)
    fyrefly98: Another young adult dystopian society with primarily historical levels of technology.

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» See also 235 mentions

English (166)  French (1)  All languages (167)
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
Actress Katherine Borowitz reads the audiobook quietly and calmly, matching the detached tone of the story, showing emotion only when expressing Kira’s thoughts or memories of her mother, or the rough Fen dialect of Matt.
  rdg301library | May 24, 2015 |
This is the second book in the series. Kira is the name of the key character in this book. She was born with a deformed leg. She has an ability to dye threads for weaving in any color but blue. She is forced out of her village after the passing of her mother. For the weak this is certain death as they are sent to the fields for the Beasts to devour. She goes to the council for help and gets it. But not in the form she was thinking. She is offered a job working at preserving the sacred robe that tells the story of the history of the village. Kira will meet Matty and Thomas along her journey. She will learn a lot of lies that were told by all around her. ( )
  kat32969 | Apr 20, 2015 |
As others have said, this is different than its companion, The Giver. I'm not sure exactly how I feel about it because I read them in order, foolishly expecting them to be more related than they are. So, I recommend to you that you do *not* reread The Giver before reading this.

In some ways this is indeed not as strong. It's more unabashedly dystopian, with only the kind of 'hope' that one finds in most any traditional post-apocalyptic story. Most of the characters are, well, not quite cardboard, but, shall we say, chipboard - not complex enough to be authentic but not worthlessly one-dimensional either. The plot moves along, the world-building is interesting, the writing style is graceful, the symbolism vivid.

One thing it does have in common with The Giver is that it is best for naive 10-12 year old children. Experienced readers will see everything coming well ahead, even the ending. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Lowry has a knack for hypnotizing readers within the first few lines. Her imaginary process is compelling, but her stories never seem to fully develop as well as they could (or should). I couldn't put this book down; I was hungry for the complete story-- but it isn't complete. The book ends suddenly (and oddly) in a fashion awkwardly similar to the Giver.

This is a very intriguing story about a post-apocalyptic society that is structured in a particularly patriarchal and class-based manner, as if humanity has gone full circle and, yet again, 'Medieval rule' has made a resurgence. White, able-bodied men make up the leadership and systems of authority, only men are allowed to read, only men hunt; women are relegated to tasks of care-giving and home-taking. (You would never know this is supposed to be related to the Giver, by the way. It just reads like a one-dimensional writer isn't sure how to produce a unique piece of work-- the way a 'one hit wonder' singer never seems to figure out an entirely new beat for later, less noteworthy work.)

Lowry is very skilled in using a single speaker's perspective of her or his surroundings to situate the reader in the story (as opposed to an omniscient narrator, who provides background and details the speaker doesn't know). But where she went awry here was giving too much one-sided information that was easily interpreted as foreshadowing for later explanations. It's as if Lowry built a lop-sided tower-- she invested too much in a single speaker describing a particular thing, leading the reader to expect later explanations, but then Lowry doesn't provide.

It felt as though I were reading a really great 1st draft of new writer's first piece: incredible ideas, keen sense for pulling together very relevant themes and points for discussion, creative thinking process, but it still needs a few more drafts to solidify the storyline.

The characters didn't feel securely rooted in their fictional identities-- they have excellent potential, and--initially--they seem very multi-dimensional, but as the story progresses, the characters' rhetoric and actions don't seem to match their Lowry-given identities.

For as much as I enjoyed the first 9/10 of the book, the last bit was terribly unfulfilling, like a mental betrayal. ( )
  jamdwhitt | Apr 11, 2015 |
Eh. I don't think I'm the target audience here. It's not that the book is bad - it just does not live up to its potential. Some of that can probably be attributed to brevity; at just over 200 pages, as I neared the ending, I was wishing for more length to lend additional detail. Especially when it came to the magical elements - which brings up my main gripe: What is up with the unexplained magic system? Why do Kira, Thomas and Jo have 'special talents' that others do not? How does Jonas in the first book (The Giver) retain memories while the rest of his community does not? Why does The Giver no longer retain individual memories after he transmits them to Jonas? In this book, how and why does the piece of fabric Kira wove when she was little sometimes glow with reassurance - or with warning? Why does the small piece of wood Thomas carved when he was little do the same for him? Why do Kira's fingers have the ability to weave 'as though they have a mind of their own'? It's all very mysterious - and not in a good way. Incorporating these magical elements with no regard to how and why gives the impression of a lazy writer who can't be bothered with applying a bit of critical thinking when fabricating their story. It all makes little sense and Lowry makes no real attempt at explanation; "It just is". I find that type of thing irritating.

But yeah, I get that it's a thought-experiment. And that it is targeted toward a younger audience that will (hopefully) grow into stories that feature consistency and more in-depth world-building. Stories set in worlds where things happen for a reason - not just because the author decides that this is how it is and let's not look too closely at the details.

With all this said, these first couple of installments in The Giver Quarter work pretty well as parables and as warnings to young people that they should question authority, stand up for themselves, do right by their friends, and listen & learn before speaking out when the social ground they stand on is uncertain. But as fiction for adults that already have some clue about these things, I feel that these books fall rather flat. ( )
  ScoLgo | Apr 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
''The Giver'' was an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind book that spoke as much to adults, myself included, as to children. The future world it depicted was rich and seductive and -- frightening thought -- completely plausible. The brute, survivalist world of ''Gathering Blue'' is much less convincing, with neither the dimension nor the subtlety of ''The Giver.'' Many of the characters in ''Gathering Blue'' are presented as either good or bad, and lack the complexity of real people.

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lois Lowryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Borowitz, KatherineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Mother?" There was no reply. She hadn't expected one. Her mother had been dead now for four days, and Kira could tell that the last of her spirit was drifting away.
She knew something else as well, and with the realization, she rose from the damp grass to go indoors, to find her father and tell him that she could not be his eyes. That she must stay.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385732562, Paperback)

Lois Lowry's magnificent novel of the distant future, The Giver, is set in a highly technical and emotionally repressed society. This eagerly awaited companion volume, by contrast, takes place in a village with only the most rudimentary technology, where anger, greed, envy, and casual cruelty make ordinary people's lives short and brutish. This society, like the one portrayed in The Giver, is controlled by merciless authorities with their own complex agendas and secrets. And at the center of both stories there is a young person who is given the responsibility of preserving the memory of the culture--and who finds the vision to transform it.

Kira, newly orphaned and lame from birth, is taken from the turmoil of the village to live in the grand Council Edifice because of her skill at embroidery. There she is given the task of restoring the historical pictures sewn on the robe worn at the annual Ruin Song Gathering, a solemn day-long performance of the story of their world's past. Down the hall lives Thomas the Carver, a young boy who works on the intricate symbols carved on the Singer's staff, and a tiny girl who is being trained as the next Singer. Over the three artists hovers the menace of authority, seemingly kind but suffocating to their creativity, and the dark secret at the heart of the Ruin Song.

With the help of a cheerful waif called Matt and his little dog, Kira at last finds the way to the plant that will allow her to create the missing color--blue--and, symbolically, to find the courage to shape the future by following her art wherever it may lead. With astonishing originality, Lowry has again created a vivid and unforgettable setting for this thrilling story that raises profound questions about the mystery of art, the importance of memory, and the centrality of love. (Ages 10 and older) --Patty Campbell

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:33 -0400)

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Lame and suddenly orphaned, Kira is mysteriously removed from her squalid village to live in the palatial Council Edifice, where she is expected to use her gifts as a weaver to do the bidding of the all-powerful Guardians.

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