"It'd be better, I think, to climb out in search of something, instead of hating what you're leaving."
I really enjoyed this book! I read the first three books of the quartet a few years ago in my children's lit class, and was excited to see that Lowry had written a fourth and final book. The book was written almost twenty years after The Giver and tells the story of Claire, Gabe's mother. It comes full circle and begins in the society that Jonas and Gabe grew up in. When Claire is assigned "birth mother" at the ceremony of twelve, she is a little disappointed, but takes her new role seriously. After a troubling birth, her "product" survives, but it is deemed that Claire can no longer have children. She is reassigned to the fish hatchery and is expected to forget her child. As the months pass, finds herself drawn to Gabe. When Jonas and Gabe leave the community (the ending of The Giver), Claire goes after then. After her boat crashes, she finds herself in a new places and struggles to remember her past. Over the years, memories of her son slowly come back to her and she is determined to find him.
I've been waiting a year or two to read this book and finally got around to it. I loved Lois Lowry's unique description and world-building in the quartet. I loved that each book focused on a different futuristic society. With so many "dytopian" books coming out lately, it was really interesting to read one that was started two decades ago. A big comparison that I found was that these books didn't center as much on relationships. Recent books like The Hunger Games and Divergent have such huge themes of romance. While entertaining, I feel that these aspects sometimes take away other elements of the book. There was some mention of young love and romance, but the main focus was the big picture of the characters and the different societies that had been created.
I really liked Lowry's theme of community throughout the four books. Each one focused on a very different type of community - often focusing on taking a logical idea to the extreme. Some worked well (like in The Messenger and Son), and others ( like in The Giver and Gathering Blue) did not. It was also interesting to see how the different communities dealt with problems they were having. The books had a lot of political themes and brought of questions of sacrifice and choices.