In Gathering Blue, a companion book to The Giver, the world is a harsh place. It begins with a young crippled girl named Kira mourning over the body of her dead mother. Fatherless before she was born, Kira now has no one and nothing, except for an innate talent with needle and thread.
Lois Lowry has created a dark and primitive setting filled with dense forests and unknown beasts. People are competitive and thuggish, scrounging for Life’s basic necessities. Weakness has no place here and children are taught this at an early age.
Kira, however, was raised differently by a mother who fought to keep her “broken” infant. She knows light and love still exist. Still, Kira must struggle to survive in a community that does not want her. One, that with all of its brutality, still has strict traditions. There are rules to be followed and leaders to be obeyed.
Gathering Blue does not pick up where The Giver left off. No time period is given. I simply told myself that it was another “community,” as described in the first book–but one that functions very differently.
Lois Lowry’s real skill is her storytelling and character development. She is masterful at giving readers just enough information to drive the plot, but allows us to draw our own conclusions before confirming them. I have never seen a writer so gifted at this.
Like in The Giver, “humanity” is the underlying theme of Gathering Blue. The more you see characters devoid of this trait, the more you are aware of your own.