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The Silent Boy by Lois Lowry
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The Silent Boy

by Lois Lowry

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Within The Silent Boy, Lois Lowry illustrates a terrible tragedy through the eyes of an 8 year old, which provides an interesting dimension to this already complex story. The book is set in the early 1900's from the point of view of a wealthy young girl. She befriends a gentle natured boy who appears to have an intellectual disability. Most of the town people see him as an imbecile, and unfortunately this boy is not provided with an education or very much guidance. After the boy accidentally commits a crime when trying to help his family the town will have to make a difficult ethical decision. This book does a wonderful job at exploring race, ability, gender, and class. This book addresses issues such as teen sex and unplanned pregnancy, which may make this book more suitable for tweens rather than middle-grade readers. ( )
  natalienichols | Mar 15, 2014 |
This topped four stars and may be rounded up to five in the near future. How does Lois Lowry write in such a calm easy manner, maintain such a relaxing hypnotic flow to the story and yet draw you in and make the characters come to life so well and elicit such strong and lingering emotions. The Giver series and Number The Stars made me feel the same way. I love this writing. Based on comments from a couple people I pay attention to I think The Willoughbys is next, and very soon. ( )
  Yona | May 2, 2013 |
Story told through the eyes of Katy Thatcher who is the daughter of a town doctor in 1909. An intelligent child, she befriends a neighbor boy, Jacob, who is "touched" as people of this time frame label special needs people but Katy wants to communicate with him and has an understanding that surpasses all adults around her.
Read by Karen Allen, (Raiders of the Lost Ark) the story is narrated in a calm dream-like voice from the past which lends to an atmosphere of deep insight rather than dramatic impressions of the characters. Loved this book.
(Most of 4 hours ) ( )
  gaillamontagne | Apr 5, 2013 |
I was kind of disturbed by this tale. It is told by Katy, a young girl at the turn of the century, about a boy named Jacob, the titular “silent” boy. He is what modern folks would refer to as mentally challenged, speaking no words but able to accurately replicate the sounds he hears, such as a grindstone in motion or a horse’s whinny. This is not a light read, and may be one that haunts me for quite a while. I can’t really say why without giving away the ending, but if you’ve read it, you probably understand what I mean. There’s no happy ending, and from the start Katy warns the reader that most would find this tale “too depressing”. And it’s not that, exactly, but it’s definitely sad. Well written, but very sad. ( )
1 vote melydia | Apr 21, 2012 |
I've read and enjoyed several of Lowry's books, including [The Giver], [Gathering Blue], and [Messenger], but those were all futuristic, dystopian novels. [The Silent Boy] is an entirely different genre. Set in 1910-1911, it can best be classified as historical fiction. It is the rare writer who excels in multiple genres, but Lois Lowry is one of those writers.

The Silent Boy is narrated by Katy Thatcher, a young girl who wants to be a doctor. Her parents - especially her father - treat her like the mature young lady she is, and so the grown-up, matter-of-fact voice in which she tells the story is not surprising. Because Katy's mother is expecting a baby, Peggy Stoltz comes to live with them and lend a hand. Katy adores Peggy and also befriends Peggy's brother Jacob, the silent boy of the book's title. Jacob is described by townspeople as "touched," or more impolitely as an "imbecile." But Katy sees that he is a kind and caring boy, who is especially good with animals. It is her understanding of Jacob that enables Katy to understand his role in the events that unfold in this book, and it is her understanding that makes what happens especially heartbreaking. I can't say more without giving away too much, but it is Lowry's careful creation of the relationship between Katy and Jacob that caused this book to touch me so deeply. ( )
2 vote porch_reader | Apr 24, 2011 |
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Book description
Katy is a young girl exploring life through common, everyday events. Her zest is acknowledged through her dad's continued guidance and encouragement.

Katy, the precocious ten-year-old daughter of the town doctor, befriends a mentally impaired boy.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440419808, Mass Market Paperback)

Precocious Katy Thatcher comes to realize what a gentle, silent boy did for his family. He meant to help, not harm. It didn’t turn out that way.

“The author balances humor and generosity with the obstacles and injustice of Katy’s world to depict a complete picture of the turn of the 20th century.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:42 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Katy, the precocious ten-year-old daughter of the town doctor, befriends a retarded boy. A two-time recipient of the prestigious Newbery Medal, acclaimed author Lois Lowry presents a sensitive and moving story of a wide-eyed young girl growing up at the beginning of the twentieth century and the influence of the farm community around her. Through Katy's eyes, readers can see the human face so often hidden under modern psychological terminology and experience for themselves the haunting impact of her friendship with the silent boy.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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