Messenger by Lois Lowry
MessengerMatty lives with blind Seer and is the messenger for Village. He hopes to perform the job well and earn his true name soon. He wants to earn the new name of Messenger. He is one of the few people who can enter Forest without being attacked and possibly killed by the vegetation.
Village has been a peaceful place for years and has openly and gladly accepted refugees from the further towns. Matty had been one of those refugees five or six years earlier – a boy who had learned to lie and steal to exist in his world. It took him a while to adjust the Village life where honesty is one of the main laws. Village is able to stay peaceful because there are no secrets.
In the last year or so Village has been changing. There is unrest. The citizens are growing more selfish and ruder and less willing to help or teach others. Now they are wanting to close Village off against any outsiders. No refugee would be welcome again.
Matty is now old enough to understand what is happening even if he doesn’t know why. Leader doesn’t want to close the Village, but bows to the will of the voters – those adults who have earned their true name. Matty thinks he see where the trouble is, but doesn’t know how to repair the damage. Leader can’t. Matty has three weeks to get through Forest, hang the signs warning others that Village is closed, and bring back Seer’s daughter, his old friend Kira. Plus he has a special supernatural gift he must save for the right time – if he can figure out when is the right time.
Lois Lowry takes the reader to a distant future Earth is this young adult novel. Our current civilization has long since disappeared and been replaced by a society with small pockets of people and little technology. Some people like Leader and Seer have special gifts beyond normal human senses. Life is simple and happy throughout the hard work.
The story leaves open holes that can either frustrate the reader or leave the reader to imagine the missing portion. We understand basically how the people in Village change their personalities but we never learn why or the exact nature of the problem. I’m one of those who feels things are missing. The story line is easy to follow but Messenger’s world is hard to imagine. It has a good strong ending but the whys and wherefore’s needed to reach the conclusion are missing.
Lowry describes Forest well. It feels sinister to the reader from the time it takes Stocktender until the end. Its coming to life at the end of the novel is downright creepy.
Notice: Suggestive dialogue or situations