Saturday, October 04, 2008

Gossamer



Gossamer
By Lois Lowry (Author's Website)
Publisher: Yearling
Published: 2008
ISBN-13: 9780385734165
176 pages





First sentence: An owl called, its shuddering hoots repeating mournfully in the distance.

This is my first Lois Lowry book and definitely not the last. Gossamer is interesting and delightful. I am intrigued by the dream-givers, especially Littlest One. I could almost hear her tiny soft voice whenever she speaks or asks this and that while she follows her teacher on duty to bestow dreams. Littlest One is a tiny creature slowly learning her job of giving dreams to humans.

Where do dreams come from? What makes the stuff of nightmares? In this story, two people—a lonely, sensitive woman (we do not know her name) and a damaged, angry boy named John—face their own histories. John, an abused little boy with a terrible attitude comes to stay with the woman temporarily. The boy is rude as can be seen from the way he talks: "Get me a Game Boy, then, if all you have are stupid books." Or, full of violent thoughts: "You'd have to pay thousand dollars to get him back, or else I'd kill him and mail you his ears." But the woman understands, of course, of the boy's background. She tries her best to be kind to him and makes him comfortable.

Meanwhile, at work are two groups of beings—the dream-givers: Littlest One and her teacher, Thin Elderly; and the Sinisteeds, the nightmare-givers. Each night, the dream-givers visit the woman's house where they touch the objects and gather bits and pieces of happy memories. They then piece those memories together and present (or, bestow) them to the sleeping human, giving them pleasant dreams. At the same time, working against them are the Sinisteeds. The dark creatures are targetting John (the perfect candidate for nightmares) because of his past. It is up to Littlest One to protect the little boy.

I enjoyed reading Gossamer very much. I like the character Littlest One and although she is a chatter-box and gets on the nerves of her first teacher, Fastidious, she really is a very sweet and thoughtful little being. She acknowledges herself as a thinker, and she is creative, too, in her approach to weaving dreams. "Are we a kind of dog?" Littlest One asks when she is 'on duty' with the impatient Fastidious. Then when she discovers that she does not have a tail, she announces, "I think I am not a dog. We, I mean. We are not a kind of dog." That is not the end for she suddenly asks, "Might we be human?" She is indeed a thinker and an endearing one.

It is wonderful to read how Littlest One discovers her special talent—her touch light as gossamer. It makes me wonder, too, if this is how our dreams (and nightmares from the Sinisteeds) are made... A great read not to be missed!

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