Tag Archives: lois lowry

The Silent Boy by Lois Lowry

The Silent Boy by Lois Lowry (unabridged audiobook read by Karen Allen; 3 hrs 57 min on 4 discs): 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.

A note on the audio: I am often wary of movie actors as narrators, but Allen was fine. She didn’t really do any character voices, but her soft and husky voice lent itself quite well to the general tone of the story. That said, I think this book would be better read traditionally, as it was written based on a series of real photographs which appear at the beginning of each chapter. Being able to see those would, I imagine, add quite a bit to the realism.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry: It’s interesting how many novels about the Nazis are written from the point of view of a child. This is no exception: Annemarie is a 10-year-old girl living in 1943 Copenhagen, which Germany invaded years before. Her best friend Ellen is a Jew, and one day her parents flee to avoid “relocation.” Annemarie’s parents take in Ellen and have her pose as their daughter. There’s quite a bit of tension every time the Nazis show up; I doubt I could have been that calm in the face of such danger at that age. Don’t skip the afterword, which explains what parts of the book were based in fact; a surprising amount of details and twists turn out not to be just clever literary devices. It’s a good glimpse of history, and unlike most books written about this time period, I didn’t cry even once. Which was a nice change.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Messenger by Lois Lowry

Messenger by Lois Lowry: Matty is the messenger for Village, the one who can brave Forest to deliver messages between various settlements. The story begins at a pivotal moment in his life: he’s discovered a wonderful and terrifying ability, he will soon receive his True Name, and Village, founded as a sanctuary for refugees, is considering closing its doors. It is the third of a loose trilogy that began with The Giver (a truly excellent novel) – that is, it takes place in the same universe and has some overlapping characters. I never read the second book, Gathering Blue, but I didn’t feel like I needed to. Truth be told, I wasn’t that impressed with this story. It was too predictable, even for a young adult book. Maybe I’d have liked it better had I read Gathering Blue (or at least more recently read The Giver) but I doubt it. Usually I like dystopian tragedies but this felt forced. All in all, not one of Lowry’s better books.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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