Delivering the message with Messenger
|photo courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
I’ve never read Messenger until now. And I literally just closed the book five minutes ago and I am completely in awe of this amazing book.
For those of you who were left with the ambiguous ending of The Giver and felt as if you had questions to be answered, you must read Gathering Blue and Messenger. While Gathering Blue does not answer those questions, the characters in the story play a pivotal role in Messenger and I literally did a double take when reading Messenger because for some reason, I never expected my questions to be answered. But Lois Lowry…answer them you did.
Messenger takes place in a community six years after Gathering Blue left off. This community is a community which welcomes all and they live in a village of no secrets, peace, and altruism. Matty, the main character in this book, is a young man who has come to the village and lives now with an older blind gentleman called “The Seer”. Matty helps cook for him and in turn, “The Seer” treats Matty as his own child, a beautiful reciprocal relationship that was very much missed in Gathering Blue.
Danger does exist in this book, as it did the others, by means of the Forest. The Forest seems to be attacking villagers and entangling them in the vines and branches, almost attacking deliberately. The Forest had never been a danger in the past but as Matty sees this Forest change, so to do the people of the village. Some of them becoming mean and bitter and even their appearance changing. Matty learns of the Trade Mart, where many villagers go to trade for things, such as a coveted gaming machine or for our times, a slot machine. It seems as if people are trading more than goods though and the ominous Trade Mart is very much a dark and mysterious trade and Matty is desperate to know what is going on.
It is nearly impossible for me to give away spoilers for the previous books by telling more about Messenger. It pains me to leave this post feeling so unfulfilled but if you are re-reading these books, you will thank me in the end.
But I will say that in Messenger, I felt as if the theme of interdependence was more heavily revealed as the community cannot function with just half of its villagers in support of one thing and because of the discord and the strife, the Forest begins to retaliate and becomes a symbol of the discord in the village. The worse off the villagers become the more the Forest seems to be gaining on the village and ready to take over.
As always, I’m going to end this post and ask that you go here and enter our contest to win a full set of the books in either audio or hardcover from our amazing sponsors, Books on Tape and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and if you’d like some additional entries, an extra entry to all of you who comment below and let us know how you’re liking this series!
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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