Gathering Blue is a very interesting book written by Lois Lowry. It is an imaginary story describing a fictitious place where life is terrible because of loss, cruelty, and/or horror. Kira, the protagonist in the story, is a cripple from birth; something the society views as a misfortune.
Her mother dies and leaves her orphaned in her teenage. She lives in a cruel and brutal society. The disabled are taken to the fields to die there. Kira escapes this terrible death because of her unique talent in embroidery. She is taken to live with the “Council of Guardian”, where she makes an embroidery robe for a popular singer in the village.
During this work, she diligently searches for a blue thread, the missing color in her collection. She meets with other children, Matt, Thomas, and Jo, who make good friends. Matt helps her understand her society secrets and reasons for her way of life. After getting these truths, she decides to change her village lifestyles.
The central conflict in this story is between the leaders and villagers. The leaders live better lives and take control of all the activities of the village. They achieve this by creating fear amongst the villagers and ensuring that they are uneducated, apart from some few boys.
They discourage people from leaving the village by telling them of the fierce wild beasts that supposedly lurk in the forest. However, when Kira learns the truths in her society, she decides to strive and save the villagers from their horrible way of life and superstition. She has great confidence and believes that change can be implemented in this village.
The start of the story until when Kira’s life is spared is quite suspenseful. More suspense is created towards the end, where the reader wonders whether Kira will manage to rescue her village as she is so determined to do, or she might meet with her death in the process.
The climax is when Kira discovers that her father is not dead after he comes to visit her. The disappearance of Matt for some days also pulls the story to a climax.
The setting of this book is in an oppressive society in an imaginary place where life is extremely bad of deprivation, oppression, or terror. A few leaders whose duties are to keep the traditions and lead people to the future govern the village. The village is primitive and a scary place to be in because of the fiery wild animals in the forest.
People are hard working, men hunting by the day and women fetching water and doing the household chores, explaining why they do not have room for the disabled. One part of the village called Fen, where Matt comes from, is even more stressful. Life is even harder there.
One of the themes of the story is the way the society reacts to handicapped people. They are despised and forsaken to die. Exercise of control is another theme.
The village leaders control everything in the village including when to start work, and when to stop. Parents control their children greatly, to an extent of lying to them about the dreadful beasts of the forest, which in reality are rabbits and deer!
Creativity is another theme. Creative people are highly regarded in this society. The orphaned and disabled children like Kira, Thomas, and Jo are taken to the leaders’ home because they are talented and creative; the thus escape death in the fields.
Kira is the main character in the story. Katrina and Christopher are Kira’s parents. Her Mum dies when she is young while her father runs to another good village when Guardian Jamison tried to kill him. Matt is Kira’s very good friend whose company she enjoys for he teaches her important truths about her society. Thomas and Jo are other friends in the village leaders’ home.
While Thomas is a good sculptor, Jo is a talented musician. Unfortunately, Kira’s teacher; Annabella, dies cryptically soon after revealing to Kira that all she hears about the fierce animals of the forest are lies. All children should ensure they read this wonderful book for their age. It is not worth failing to read!