Thinking as a Hobby

Get Email Updates
Email Me

Admin Password

Remember Me

3476879 Curiosities served
Share on Facebook

The House of the Scorpion
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (7)

I just finished reading Nancy Farmer's The House of the Scorpion, which won the National Book Award this year for Young Adult fiction.

I enjoyed it. It's the story of a boy named Matt, growing up on an poppy plantation in the country of Opium, a strip of land separating future Mexico and the United States. It turns out that Matt is the clone of El Patron, the 146 year-old patriarch drug lord that rules the border country. When Matt grows old enough, and El Patron gets sick enough, he's gonna get chopped up into spare parts to keep the old man alive (only he finds this out gradually).

In the meantime, Farmer follows the tried and true fictional strategy of putting her protagonist through holy hell. He's a clone, lower than an animal, so most people treat him unmercifully. There are a couple of exceptions to this, Celia, a maid who is in a sense his foster mother, and Maria, a U.S. Senator's daughter who is about the same age as him. Everyone else reminds him he is scum, that he was incubated in the belly of a cow, that he has no rights, that he has no soul. Lots of physical and mental cruelty is sent Matt's way through the course of the story.

He eventually makes another friend, though, one of El Patron's bodyguards, Tam Lin, who treats him like a person and helps him facilitate an escape toward the end of the book.

The ending itself was a bit predictable, and it felt rushed, but still, the storytelling was vivid and interesting throughout.

It's marketed toward young adults, presumably simply because it has a young protagonist, but it's over 300 pages long, and the writing doesn't feel dumbed down in any way.

I'd highly recommend it.

Also, I'm currently listening to Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn. It's a fantasy, again with a young protagonist, set in medieval Japan. Somewhat formulaic so far, a young boy sees his entire village slaughtered by an evil Samurai. He is rescued by a rival warlord, Lord Otori, and taken under his wing. There's lots of sensory description, perhaps a little too much, but overall it's decent so far.

What are you guys reading?

Read/Post Comments (7)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.