"The accuser will speak first,"

the chief guardian instructed.

Vandara's voice was firm and bitter. "The girl should have been taken to the Field when she was born and still nameless. It is the way."

"Go on," the chief guardian said.

"She was imperfect. And fatherless as well. She should not have been kept."

But I was strong. And my eyes were bright. My mother told me. She wouldn't let me go Kira shifted her weight, resting her twisted leg, remembering the story of her birth, and wondering if she would have an opportunity to tell it here. I gripped her thumb so tightly.

"We have all tolerated her presence for these years," Vandara went on. "But she has not contributed. She cannot dig or plant or weed, or even tend the domestic beasts the way other girls her age do. She drags that dead leg around like a useless burden. She is slow, and she eats a lot."

The council of guardians was listening carefully. Kira's face felt warm with embarrassment. It was true, that she ate a lot. It was all true, what her accuser was saying.

I can try to eat less. I can go hungry. In her mind, Kira prepared her defense, but even as she did, she felt it would be weak and whining.

"She was kept, against the rules, because her grandfather was still alive and had power. But he is long gone, replaced by a new leader with more power and wisdom --"

Vandara oozed compliments designed to strengthen her case, and Kira glanced at the chief guardian tom see if he was swayed by the flattery. But his face was impassive.

"Her father was killed by beasts even before her birth. And now her mother is dead," Vandara went on. "There is even reason to think that her mother may have carried an illness that will endanger others –"

No! She was the only one to fall ill! Look at me! I lay beside her when she died, and I am not ill!

"-- and the women need the space where their cott was. There is no room for this useless girl. She can't marry. No one wants a cripple. She takes up space, and food, and she causes problems with the discipline of tykes, telling them stories, teaching them games so they make noise and disrupt the work --"
- Lois Lowry, Gathering Blue

The latest book I am reading to Tania. We recently finished reading The Giver and I thought it was better the second time around. According to Wikipedia, it is a companion novel to The Giver. There is a follow up book called The Messenger - which I shall have to try and find.

I thought this book was better written than The Giver - although, I thought it was a little weaker at the end.

Comments

Krista said…
I loved The Giver and, as I read that excerpt, I was instantly reminded of it. I think I'll have to grab this when I have a space in my to-be-read line!
carra said…
I am confused a little, and could feel the discomfort of the character in this excerpt. Maybe this book is a little bit too modern for my old fashioned mind, but I must admit, this post left me curious.

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