Beth Bonini's Reviews > Messenger

Messenger by Lois Lowry
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Apr 24, 12

bookshelves: children-s-book-club
Read in April, 2012

This is a mystical, metaphorical kind of book, and that's not going to appeal to all readers; indeed, there are quite a few readers who might be afflicted by eye-rolling (at best) and book-throwing (at worst). But I liked it.

Maybe it's just because I read a scary story about the creeping tide of French nationalism this morning, but I think that this book has something rather profound to say about community-building. The Village, which starts out as kind of utopia taking all comers -- not matter how needy and damaged -- becomes xenophobic at the point in which its inhabitants trade off their humility for vanity, and start seeing superiority in their own person. It takes the selfless sacrifice of a young boy to return the community to its senses.

There is a very clear message to this story, which makes it feel like a modern parable trapped in the darkly forested setting of a fairy tale. The character of Matty becomes the literal link between Jonas/Leader (from The Giver) and Kira (from Gathering Blue). The importance of love and connectedness -- and the ability to identify them, to "see beyond" all that clouds our vision -- is what we are left with.
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