Messenger Mass Market Paperback – Jan 13 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up–After many years of living with Seer, a blind old man with the gift of wisdom, young Matty discovers a gift of his own—the gift of healing living things, albeit at great personal cost to himself. The bucolic, democratic life in Village is changing suddenly, with greed, racism, and deceit making their first appearances. Previously good people seem to be trading parts of their deepest selves for foolish things. Forest is becoming hostile if not lethal to anyone who walks there, and gentle Leader is losing his calming influence over the residents of Village. Seer asks Matty to go through Forest and fetch his daughter Kira before Village is closed to any newcomers. On their way back through Forest, Kira and Matty are attacked by Forest in viciously painful ways that are frighteningly portrayed by the author and narrator. Only Matty can save Kira, Leader, and Village. An abrupt conclusion to the story, involving sacrifice for the greater good will leave listeners with many questions. Lois Lowry's use of language and imagery is as always elegant, but the political and religious symbolism weigh too heavily on this tale (Houghton, 2004). David Morse delivers a quietly relaxed reading of the fable, with some characters such as Matty and Seer more effectively voiced than others. Links to the first two books in this trilogy—The Giver (Houghton, 1993) and Gathering Blue (Houghton, 2000) most likely make this recorded book a necessary purchase.–B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* Gr. 6-10. Like Lowry's hugely popular Newbery winner, The Giver (1993), this story dramatizes ideas of utopia gone wrong and focuses on a young person who must save his world. Teenage Matty lives with his caregiver in the Village, a place of refuge, where those fleeing poverty and persecution are welcomed with kindness and find a home. But the Village people are changing, and many have voted to build a wall to keep the newcomers out. The metaphor of the wall and the rage against immigrants ("They can't even speak right") will certainly reach out to today's news images for many readers. But Lowry moves far beyond message, writing with a beautiful simplicity rooted in political fable, in warm domestic detail, and in a wild natural world, just on the edge of realism. Matty lives with his blind caregiver, Seer. Both of them were driven from home and nearly perished. The drama is in their affection; in the small details of how they cook, care for their puppy, and tease one another. Matty teases Seer about his blindness, even though they both know Seer sees more than most. In contrast is the terror of Matty's secret powers and the perilous journey he must undertake to save the Village. The physical immediacy of his quest through a dark forest turned hostile brings the myth very close and builds suspense to the last heart-wrenching page. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The last chapter was a frenzy and the ending was too much of a "quick-fix" for a group of books that dealt with very heavy issues. I did like the portrayal of the Village and the interesting change in people who forgot their past and the kindness others had shown them. It would be a good tie in with immigration stories.
However, I just wanted more, more answers, more explanation. What was Jonas like now besides his job description? He seemed to walk around in an overly wise daze. What had happened to his town? All in all, I would say stick to The Giver for classroom use. Gathering Blue and Messenger have good issues to address as well, but The Giver does so with the most clarity and excellence in writing.
The Giver and Gathering Blue are two books that have a profound effect because they explore the mixture of good and evil above and below the surface in varying versions of possible post-apocolyptic societies. Messenger is not a fitting end to the other two. It seems an insult to the complexity of mankind, and the good and evil of the societies she has constructed to have an end solution lie with an all-good, all-giving martyr character.
Of the three books in this trilogy (The Giver, and Gathering Blue being the others), I found this book to be equal to Gathering Blue, but neither as good as the Giver. The current book is full of religious and secular-humanistic metaphors. We have the savior figure dying for the sins of others, the citizens losing their souls for selfish and materialistic desires, and the author uses anti-immigrant attitudes to emphasize the loss of the public soul.
As with some other Lowry books, the ending will leave some unsatisfied. However, I enjoy endings with the resolution is left to the reader's imagination. This is particularly of value for sparking conversations within one's circle of friends, family or classroom. It is also a good technique for developing one's creativity. I read other Lowry books with my children and they led to good dinning table conversations. I fully recommend this book for ages ten and older, but the story will be lost for those who have not read the other two books.
I am a great fan of the Giver, and enjoyed Gathering Blue a lot, so I was very excited when this book came out, and read it in a single day. However, I was extremely disappointed. It felt like the author had written it simply because she promised a third book, not because she had a really cool idea. The characters seemed shallow and undeveloped, and the description of the village didn't fit in with the one given in Gathering Blue. You never find out the actual problem of the village, and the ending leaves way too many holes- and not ones that are designed to make you think.
In Messenger the main character's name is Matty. Matty is the only one who can travel through Forest without being killed, so he takes messages to outside villages. He hopes that when he gets his real name he will be Messenger. At the beginning of this book Matty's friend Ramon gets a "Gaming Machine" that his family traded for at Trade Mart. Then, some of the people of Village, who used to be very welcoming to new people in their village, want to close Village to all outsiders. A meeting is called to decide whether Village will be closed or not. Soon, some "new ones" come to Village. They are welcomed as usual, but a small group of people protest. The schoolteacher, who used to be very welcoming to "new ones," leads them. The people of Village are given names based on what they do. For example, Seer, the man Matty lives with that is blind; Leader; and Mentor, the schoolteacher. Matty discovers he has a power to heal things. He saves a frog, a dog, and a puppy from dying. Then, Matty decides he wants to go and see what Trade Mart is like. When Matty is there, he notices odd procedures. He also notices changes in behavior of people who have traded. You can hear what each person is trading for but not what the person is trading for it. One change in behavior is when one woman whose husband walks slowly, yells at her husband to hurry up which she has never done before. Next, Jean, Mentor's daughter, gives Matty her puppy, which Leader names Frolic. Frolic goes everywhere with Matty.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
decent book but one of the weaker lois lowry book. a pile of of un nuanced allegory propped up on references to the giver,Published 1 month ago by elliot wilson
Excellent book! I have read this before but purchased it so I could read it to my 10 year old son. We have a half hour of reading time before bed, he loves it. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Flory Bell
This book is a great continuation of Gathering Blue, while alluding to the connections between the village and the community from The Giver. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Reanne
Heartbreaking... beautiful... intense. I love how this ties together "The Giver" and "Gathering Blue". Read morePublished 18 months ago by Andrea