Friday, February 6, 2009

"Gossamer" by Lois Lowry (audio) featuring a guest post from Emma

Recently, I was inspired by Anna at Diary of an Eccentric to start to read some YA fiction with my daughter, Emma, and let her hone her writing and analysis skills in a co-post with me. (Anna does this occasionally with her daughter as well). What a great way to bond with your kids and share the love of reading with them! YA is not necessarily my genre, but there are so many bloggers out there reviewing these types of books, I knew we could easily find something entertaining to both of us. Gossamer was one of those books on which I'd seen several glowing reviews. I ordered the book for Emma and the audio book for me from the library. Emma finished the book in two days, and I'd started listening to the audio in the car on the way to school and back (the Outlander Series has to wait until the kiddies are NOT in the car). Emma loved the book so much, she wanted to listen to the audio with me, and surprisingly my very boyish 9 year old boy became enraptured as well. Wonders never cease!

Gossamer is a magical tale about little creatures (like little butterflies or fairies in my mind's eye) that bestow dreams to humans. With a light, feathery touch they extract memory fragments from items in the humans' homes, and use them to transfer these memories back into the subsonscious as dreams while the humans sleep. My son Ryan commented that he thinks they come from God (which of course made me cry.) Adversely, there are also Sinisteeds, which are dark, snorting, aggressive horse-like creatures that attack the human psyche with nightmares.

Littlest One is a dream-giver-in-training, and is a lively, curious sweetheart. She is also very talented at bestowing dreams, and at her gentle "Gossamer" touch in gathering fragments. She and her mentor, Thin Elderly, become aware of a disturbing situation occuring at one of their "clients". A lonely, elderly woman is fostering an angry little boy who has been grossly abused by his father. Because the little boy is vulnerable, the Sinisteeds attempt to permanently damage the boy with vicious nightmares. A battle ensues between the dream-givers and the Sinisteeds for the boy's soul.

The definition of Gossamer is something fragile and delicate. Everything about this book is fragile and delicate, and is perfectly named. It is filled with a magical, twinkling, child-like wonder. It is beautiful and pure in its example of hope, and I don't think I've read anything quite like it. Despite everything I have said so far, however, I must warn you that the scenes of abuse imposed on the boy are troubling and heartbreaking. But patience and love prevails, as it should. I cried at the end. I would recommend it to young and old.


Emma's take: I really enjoyed Gossamer, although it was a little confusing for me at points. One thing I did like is all of the imagination used to write the book. It made me feel like I was really there. I thought that John's (the angry boy) behaviour was really mean, and it made me feel both angry and sad inside. I loved the character Littlest One. The way she is always talking and curious is so cute. This story made me want to read more from the same author. (Note from mom: The Giver is next.) I would rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.


14 comments:

Beth F said...

Wow! Good job Emma! I loved your review and now I really want to either read or listen to the book. Thanks to both of you for this one.

Dar said...

Emma, great job and you're so pretty! I've seen a few reviews of this one lately and it's on my wishlist. It seems a book adults enjoy as much as kids.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Beth and Dar - Thank you both so much for your kind words. Emma doesn't know how to react...everything seems to embarass her these days (!?). This was just a beautiful story. The narrator on audio definitely enhanced the listening experience - she has a very sweet, smooth, melodic voice.

Carrie K. said...

Emma and Sandy - my daughter, Natalie, and I both loved Gossamer, too. Great job on your first review, Emma!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Thank you Carrie! My son has dibs on writing the review for The Graveyard Book. His perspective is always a little interesting...

Literary Feline said...

I was just reading another review of this book a few minutes ago. :-) This sounds like a wonderful story.

I enjoyed reading yours and Emma's take on the novel. I am glad you both enjoyed it so much.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Thanks Wendy! What I found curious was that my son, who is often just too cool for stuff like this, was totally into it. He can't sit still long enough to read anything of length, but I had him captive for this (in the car), so maybe this is how I get him more invested in books!

Melody said...

This is a wonderful book, isn't it? I really enjoyed it and I'm glad you and Emma thought so too. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of Lois' books in the near future! :)

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

I saw this book recently and didn't pick it up (kicking myself now). It sounds lovely and so I'll be sure to get it next time!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Melody - I have "The Giver" on my bookshelf, waiting for the right moment to share with my daughter. I might even read it to both the kids when I finish "The Graveyard Book". She is a delightful writer.

Michele - You would be enchanted with this book! It is a quick read as well. (A break from these chunky things!)

C. B. James said...

You both did an excellent job. Great idea to share the review and nice to read Emma's response. I think you'll enjoy The Giver. Lois Lowry also wrote a humorous series of books, really for girls, called Anastasia Krupnik books, I think. Many of my students recommend Number the Stars as well.

Sandy Nawrot said...

James - I have a feeling we will be chasing all of Lowry's works, if Gossamer is any indication of her talent. I look forward to doing more of this type of thing with both of my kids. It makes writing fun, which they normally view as drudgery.

farmlanebooks said...

Sorry I some how missed this post!

It's great to see Emma contributing to your blog! It's nice that you can talk about books together. I hope she writes on here more in the future.

Anna said...

Great review, Emma (and Mom)! I think it's great that you're reading and reviewing together. You'll find you enjoy books you wouldn't have read otherwise. Hope to see more dual reviews in the future!

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric