Lois Lowry's The Giver is one of those novels that, while written for a young adult audience, resonates just as much with the adult reader and this beautifully written and chilling classic is perfect for fans of today's dystopian fiction.
The Giver won the Newbery Medal and Lowry followed it six years later with Gathering Blue and finally The Messenger. This month we finally get to read Son, the final book in the quartet that returns to Gabe's story, one Lowry decided to write, she says, after the sheer magnitude of reader interest began to pique her own.
I'm a huge fan of Lowry's books and Son is our spotlight pick for Best Young Adult Book of October--though, honestly, there is so much adult appeal that Son is really just a best book for readers from 12 on up. Below is an email question and answer exchange I had with Lowry to learn more about Son and other things in this amazing author's life. And if Son--or The Giver--is on your list of "books I need to read" I can't recommend enough that you move it to the top, you won't be disappointed.
A Q&A with Lois Lowry:
Q: What made you decide to
make The Giver a quartet instead of a trilogy (I'm so happy you did"¦) or was
that conclusion always in the back of your mind? How long did you work on Son?
took me a couple of years. I started it by focusing on Gabe, the boy,
because of the many, many requests of readers to know what became of "the
baby"... Then, exploring his origins, I found myself fascinated by
the young birthmother, so she became the protagonist and the whole book
changed. That's why it took so long.
Q: Was there any
particular fan letter or event that moved you to write Gabe's story that
readers had been asking for, and do you have any other persistent requests that
you might consider writing?
one particular letter or event, just the sheer magnitude of the interest in
Gabe. It is rare for me to accede in that way to reader requests, though.
In this case I think their interest began to pique my own.
The other request I often get is to write again
about the Holocaust. But I don't have any plans to do that. So much has already
been written, and by people with greater authority and experience than I.
Q: Son was released during Banned Books week and The Giver in particular has been both adopted
and challenged in the classroom"” when you wrote The Giver did you imagine it would have generate
such polarizing opinions?
A: No, not a clue. I still am amazed when The
Giver is challenged
Q: Are you amazed that this particular book is
challenged or that books in general are still being challenged?
doesn't surprise me that attempts at censorship..not only of The Giver but of
other books...is ongoing. It is evidence of the emerging conservatism in this
country. And it's based on understandable fear and anxiety about the future. In
my opinion, though, it's a misplaced reaction..
Q: What was your favorite book
as a child?
A: I loved the author Lois Lenski
in part because we shared a not-very-common name. But THE YEARLING was
the book that activated my literate life. My mother read it to me when I
Q: What was it about THE
YEARLING that spoke to you in such a meaningful way?
was published as an adult book, and I knew at age 8 that my mother was doing
something very special in reading it to me. I could see how it affected her
emotionally..she wept at times during the reading...and I had not known before
that a book could have such power.
Q: What's on your bedside
ORCHARDIST by Amanda Coplin
Q: I love that one, it's beautiful....do
you read kids or YA books very often and if so, do you have any new authors or
books you really like?
A: I am an avid reader but I have a busy schedule
and limited time for reading. So the books I choose are almost always adult
books. I rarely read kids or YA books.
Q: What's your most memorable moment as an author?
A: Being warned by the FBI not to
appear publicly in a certain city because there was a psychopath there who was
fixated on THE GIVER.
Q: What book by another author
would you most like to have written?
A: That's a toughie. Maybe
ATONEMENT by Ian McEwan.
Q: Would you say that's one of
your all-time favorite books?
A: Not necessarily, but I thought it was a real