Carissa's Reviews > The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol I: The Pox Party
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol I: The Pox Party
by M.T. Anderson
by M.T. Anderson
sweet jesus, i have never been so anxious for a book to be done as i was with this one. i listened to the audiobook and it just seemed interminable! ugh! the language is very…. gothic and high and oh, i just hated it! here’s the thing i’ve decided about m.t. anderson. he has really great premises to his books (like in “feed” where it’s in the future and everyone’s brains are jacked into the internet, or “game of sunken places” where two boys have to play a “game” to save the world, or this one where it takes place during the american revolution era and a group of white men have decided to do an experiment and give a black slave boy a classic upbringing to test the “negro’s native capacity”–very interesting and thought provoking premise, no?) but then he takes it in this direction that i just don’t care about and don’t want to read! in octavian nothing, for example, the first part talks about all of the ridiculous things they make this boy do in order to “study” him (he poops on a plate and they weigh and record it every time), but i thought that the climax of the book would come when he suddenly discovers who they are and what they’re doing to him (kind of like the truman show), but no, that sort of happens about a quarter of the way through the book and it’s like it’s no big deal, really. then, his owners (or whatever they are) decide to hold a “pox party” — ostensibly to innoculate a group of their friends and then all hang out together while they recover if they contract the illness in any form. and that’s kind of interesting, but also really gross because at least some of the people don’t survive the innoculation. then, octavian runs away and joins the army and the telling of his story is taken over by a soldier (named “evidence goring”) writing letters to his sister (”fruition”) and he tells stories from the battlefield and occasionally mentions octavian (who goes by the nickname, “prince”). i soooooo don’t care about reading battlefield stories. having them read to me in archaic language is excruciatingly painful. then, he is recaptured and they slap this metal hood– complete with a metal bit that goes in him mouth–onto him and lock it. at one point, they describe him gagging on the bit and then puking inside the hood and then the puke plugging up all the holes for him to breathe through and dripping out of the eyeholes and it’s just so groooossssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss! uck! maybe i would have been able to better enjoy the book if i were reading it myself and could have skimmed the parts i didn’t like.
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