Monica's Reviews > The House of the Scorpion

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
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Jul 12, 2007

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I enjoyed the fact that Nancy Farmer brought up some very pertinent issues through this novel—cloning, drugs, and finding a sense of belonging. Through Matt’s experience as a clone in Opium, a place where he is looked down upon by almost everyone, the reader identifies with his struggles and is rooting for him to find acceptance the whole way through the novel.

The author’s setting of the book in a country based upon the drug industry allows a lot of room for discussion about the topic, as with the issue of cloning. Both of these issues are actual topics that teenagers are interested in talking about and likely have opinions about, although the book itself does not explore the morality of either in-depth, there are plenty of jumping-off points for discussion. The social hierarchy in both Opium and Aztlán also provide fodder for philosophical discussion about how a society “should” be, and what is “fair.”

Despite all of the great potential for discussion, I was not riveted by this book. I got through it and felt okay about it, but it was not what I expected after hearing other people’s reviews and looking at all of the awards for which it has been nominated. I think the book is a little too long for the audience it is written for—the story could have been told more succinctly, or perhaps made in to a series, one part being the story at El Patrón’s mansion, and the other being Matt’s adventures in Aztlán. I would probably only recommend this book to students who are fascinated by the topics it brings up, because it takes a while to get through and can be tedious, otherwise.
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