Lois Lowry Messenger. New York: Bantam Books. 2004.
Genre: Fiction. (Utopia/dystopia)
Audience: High school
Summary: Matty is still under the guidance of Seer, who is the blind man. Matty is trying to figure out his true name in the Village. Unfortunately the Village is not the same as it was when Matty was first introduced. The Village is going to create a wall to block out any future visitors; no one can come in or go out. This means Seer and Matty may never see their loved ones outside the Village ever again. Matty sets out on this journey in hopes of coming back to the Village before it is too late.
Read Aloud: Messenger
Themes: The book talks a lot focuses a lot on selfishness. Mentor, who is the school teacher in the Village, is highly concentrated on throughout the entire book. He yearned to teach; but, now all he can focus on is what he can trade and what his appearance is like. He never reads poetry anymore and barely acknowledges his daughter, Jean, or even Matty. People are very self-centered at many points throughout the entire book. When a group of starving and wounded visitors came to the village, most of the villagers shunned them. They said that they had taken care of them long enough. Thankfully, there was still some loving humans still in the village who did assist the visitors and welcome them.
Compassion is but another theme in this book. Matty sets out to get Kira, who is Seer’s daughter. Knowing he risks death from the Forest, he still goes out of love for Seer. As the town was in shambles, he reaches out and embarks on this incredible journey out of compassion. He is compassionate towards Seer because he would not be able to make the mission himself because of his loss of eye sight. Seer fears the closing of the Village will result in never seeing his daughter again.
A theme I loved is how they basically said imperfection is perfection. On page 97, Leader talks to Matty about Kira. Kira has a twisted leg and walks with a cain. Matty bashes it, saying how she will never marry because of it. But, Leader braces it. Calling the leg “lovely”. I think to look at imperfections on a person and be able to brace them as beautiful is love. Imagine if our world could do that with every person that walks the street. But, that would be utopia, which we all know would eventually fall to shambles. J
Connections: I really connected to this story when Matty spoke about Jean. I know when I was younger, I would blush and be embarrassed when talking about a boy I liked. Even now, I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about four years and I still to this day get embarrassed talking about how much I love him and what not. So, I think a lot of young adults can relate to how Matty speaks about Jean. And, how excited he was when Jean finally kissed him! Another connection I made was when he was trying to find his “place” in the village; as the book would say his name. I think every person goes through a phase like this in some point or another. With changing schools, workplace, friends, etc. Matty embarks on this journey to find his name or his place. And, all of the students at WIU came to school to find their place in the world.
Reactions: I loved the book. This book was the follow up to the book The Giver . Unfortunately, it has been quite a while since I have read the Giver. So, it took some time to rethink about everything. But, this book kept you turning page after page. I could not put it down and honestly wish there was more. I think this was a great coming of age book for young adults that could be taught in classrooms. I was still kind of unclear as to how the book really ended. What exactly came through the Village to cause all this evil? I knew what happened with Matty, and I do not want to put too much spoiler on here because it was an awesome book and I suggest reading it. But, what came through the Village in the end really confused me- if it had to do with the Forest or what? But, the ending was spectacular and just how giving of himself Matty was, that is rare to find. I also thought that this book kind of showed a dystopia. Since it was a follow up of the book The Giver, which has a utopic society. Lowry really portrayed how utopia could just crash in a matter of time and form into a dystopia.
Reception: The author of this, Nayiri, talks about some of the themes and concepts of Messenger. And, it was found on wordpress!
This is a book review, kind of going over the plot of Messenger. It was done by Rev. Dee Dee Azhikakath