Review | Gossamer: by Lois Lowry

It is my opinion that Lois Lowry is a giant of an author. As a two time Newberry Medal winner, her books speak to children, young adults and adults. Most known for “The Giver Quartet” and “Number the Stars”, Lowry has a notably lengthy list of books she has penned.

Gossamer is a personal favorite that I revisit periodically. Having had some unusual dreams of late, I thought a reread was timely. Gossamer confronts the question … Where do dreams come from? What stealthy nighttime messengers are the guardians of our most deeply hidden hopes and our half-forgotten fears?

Lowry uses the dream giver, Littlest, a small, transparent creature, and her companion and mentor, Thin Elderly, as bestowers of dreams to those who need them most. Thin Elderly teaches Littlest to “flutter, hover,center, gather and deliver” dreams full of hope, love and reassurance. Three needy characters, an old woman, a ten year old boy and a dog, are in desperate need of protection. Littlest and Thin Elderly are given a mission to assure their dreams will keep them safe and secure.

The conflict arises upon relizing that some dreams are pleasant and some dreams are not. The fantasy character of a Sinisteeed is also a deliverer of dreams. The Sinisteed is responsible for nightmares. Worse yet, they return with “recurrences”. The old woman, John, the boy, and Toby, the dog, are all targets of the Horde, a group of Sinisteeds. Littlest and Thin Elderly battle the Sinisteeds in order to preserve peace of mind over the Horde’s torment.

Littlest “gathers” memories from objects in the home to deliver as dreams. She says, “There’s the pink seashell that he keeps on the table. And it’s the most important thing I think, because it has so many memories … and it’s part of his own story.” (p.79) The real characters are never aware of the struggle between the fantasy characters. The old woman, John and Toby discover what they can be to eachother, renewed by the strength that comes from a tiny, caring creature they will never see.

No photographic image does justice to Littlest’s appearance in my imagination. I attribute this to the magic of Lois Lowry’s writing. Littlest is an etereal creature resembling air in lightness. The youthful, transparent, gossamer like creature is unique in each readers mind.

For me, the wings of a dragonfly are about as close to reality as I can manage.

Gossamer is a keeper and will always remain as a part of my personal library. This book is as haunting as a dream. I’ll return again!

Published by Audrey Newhall

I am an avid reader and contributor to Penna Book Reviews

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