Messenger by Lois Lowry
Houghton Mifflin, 2004
Messenger is the third book in The Giver Trilogy, written by children’s author Lois Lowry. Reading the first book, The Giver , is actually what prompted me to begin my personal challenge to read all of the Newbery Medal winners .
I do have to say that the experience of reading this book was not as visceral as with the first and, to a lesser extent, the second books in the series. Part of that is probably related to the fact that with The Giver , I was being introduced to this world for the first time and was pulled in by the seeming goodness of the society; only gradually becoming confused and then horrified by the choices that have been made in order to maintain a certain way of life.
With the second book, Gathering Blue , I was trying too hard at first to relate the community in this book to the first one. As the characters drew me in, however, I became engrossed in this story on its own merits.
Messenger centers on a village that is diametrically opposed in both philosophy and practice to the societies Lowry has presented in the other two books. Unfortunately, it seems to be moving from an open, accepting place to one where control and exclusion are taking over, and it is up to the main character, Matty, to stop this from happening (with the help of the earlier two protagonists).
I have to admit the ending was a bit too mystical for me, more like a fairy tale where the other two books were more realistic. I do think fans of the earlier books would enjoy reading this one and especially seeing how Jonas and Kira have fared.