I’m also a sucker for Lois Lowry.
Lowry is a brilliant storyteller and her characters are always so complex while being simple to read and understand. She’s a heck of a communicator and uses the absolute right words to get you to see exactly what she wants you to see. I have already written about my love of The Willoughbys in my “What to Read to Your Monkeys” post, I devoured The Giver series and while I can’t say I have read everything she’s written, I can promise you that if her name is on it, my confidence and expectations are heightened.
I came across “Gossamer” while looking around in the Juvenile Fiction section for new books to read with the kids, and audiobooks for them to listen to while they fall asleep at night. I was also wandering the aisles because I was stuck hanging out in the kids’ area with my littlest… Sometimes I like to call that “trapped”… but only when I’m feeling extraordinarily pitiful.
The cover is starkly beautiful… And I happen to find the word “gossamer” lovely to say. This is high praise because I’m super weird about words. I guess I consider it ‘high praise’ – you may not unless you really start respecting my very important opinions.
All this to say, I very much enjoyed this sweet little story. Some on Goodreads refer to it as a ‘fairy tale’ and I suppose I would agree with that description. It is whimsical, emotional, deep, haunting, and entertaining… I hesitated to read it to my children, only because there is a dark element involved, which is very “Lowry” if you are familiar with her writing.
The story revolves around the idea that our dreams/nightmares are compiled by the touch of a special group of characters. They are never truly given a description in the book other than that they go from being transparent to being more filled out in body. I imagined them something along the lines of fairies but less flittering I suppose – no wings to speak of. The main character is under training and assigned to a home of an older woman who lives alone. Lowry travels between points-of-view, sometimes writing from the perspective of the trainee and her mentor, then to the old woman, and then to several other characters – a young mom who is struggling after losing her son during a tough season married to his abusive father (see – this is the ‘dark’ I was referring to), the son who is not sure how to process his crumbling world, the dream-giver assigned to the young mom, and a dark nightmare-giver.
The lives of all characters are intertwined when we learn that the old woman has been in the waiting period for a foster child. The story progresses from there into something alternately sad and beautiful as we see the relationship progress between the boy, the old woman, and the young mom.
The young dream-giver, to be named Gossamer by the end of the book, is tasked with gifting dreams to both the boy and the woman, and the task is to be done with precision, care and a particular fine touch.
I would recommend this for middle-school and older age readers. I really enjoy a nice easy story from time to time and this fits the bill but with a little depth so you still feel like a grownup.