Sandi's Reviews > Little Brother

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
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Jun 23, 08

bookshelves: 2008, books-my-son-liked, top-10, young-adult, california-lit
Recommended for: Every American over 14 (does contain some graphic material)
Read in June, 2008

There is a reason why totalitarian governments ban books. The reason is that books can change the world. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and Frederick Douglass' autobiography opened people's eyes to the evils of slavery; Anne Frank's Diary taught us that genocide kills innocent young girls; "To Kill a Mockingbird" showed us that justice isn't always just and that people should be judged by their character rather than the color of their skin; "The Grapes of Wrath" opened our eyes to the plight of migrant farm workers; "1984" warned us about the perils of a nanny state. Now, in 2008, a new book of power has emerged. "Little Brother" is "1984" for the 21st century, but with more impact.

I don't recall that the book ever states what the year is. It really doesn't matter. It takes place post 9/11. Terrorists blow up San Francisco's Bay Bridge and everyone's constitutional rights get trampled in the aftermath. This book is aimed at teens, but every American adult should read it too. Parents should read it with their teens and discuss it with them. (There are a few scenes of teenage drinking and sex, but the overwhelming message of this book is so strong that even this conservative mother is willing to overlook it.)

My daughter was 18 on 9/11. My son is only 4 years away from being the same age as the protagonist. I remember how idealistic I was a teen. I read this book with all that in my experience. I read it as a mother; I read it as an idealistic teen; and I read it as a true believer in our rights as American citizens. I read thI didn't is book with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. At 47, I thought I was past the age when a book would have the power to move me and change me as profoundly as "Little Brother." I've read thousands of books in my lifetime. I have very fond memories of so many of them. But, when it comes to real power, "Little Brother" is right up there next to "To Kill a Mockingbird." I'd give it 6 stars if I could. It is that good.

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I do have to add that I gave this to my son to read before I read it. He is almost 13. He loved this book. He wants to read more books like it. I'm going to have to tell him that it's just a unique book. And, he did ask me why I didn't tell him it had "adult situations." I had to tell him that I didn't know. I really recommend that you let your teens read it before you do. They'll be less embarrassed that way. You can use the "adult situations" as a tool to talk about those touchy subjects of sex, drugs and alcohol.
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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Lisa Vegan Sandi, I can't wait to get this. I'm 9 of 11 on holds at my public library. I hope I get a copy by November 1st, and I hope that I have the time to read it. I'm even more excited after reading your review.


Becky "There is a reason why totalitarian governments ban books. The reason is that books can change the world."

Yes! :D Great review.


Bcoghill Coghill Little Brother is a good YA adventure book and it is a timely topic but this is not as important as the books cited in the review. I look forward to the book that is equal to this review.


Vladimir Vasquez Excelent review.


Bill I bought three copies of this book for my classroom library, and I cannot keep them on the shelf.


cover72 Indeed, very good review.


Jazmine Your review makes me very excited to begin reading this book!


Jess Looks like there is a sequel now called Homeland, if your son is interested.


Sandi He already has it. :)


Mohammed I think sentimentality is the mother of all brutality. Cute feelings and cuddly attitudes and shying away from saying no are as destructive as any Hitler.


Marina Rupova I recommend Doctorow`s Pirate Cinema and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.


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