Lonica'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 Nati... by M.T. Anderson
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Apr 28, 09

bookshelves: ya-class
Read in February, 2009

I think that teens would be interested in this little-known aspect of history. I certainly wasn't aware of the types of experiments that were being conducted by the members of this society. The historical fiction is really well researched and I was impressed with the way in which Anderson completely recreates the 18th century syntax and speech style. I have doubts though, about how well this book would appeal to most teens. It is definitely a more advanced text and I really only see advanced students turning to this type of novel. I struggled to become engaged with the book and I think many other teens would as well.

The book addresses independence, overcoming the death of a parent, and deciding what to do with your life and the course you want to take. Octavian is also confronted with the racism of the day's society and he must learn how to handle that as well.

I thought that Octavian was believable. He certainly reacted the way I would have in similar situation, but I wasn't all that attached to him. I found the novel a bit of a struggle to finish, right up until the very end. This makes me a bit anxious to read the sequel. I would like to know what happens to Octavian, but I don't want to have to wade through a whole lot of similarly boring text at the beginning.

I would promote this book to teens in conjunction with some non-fiction titles about the different science experiments that were happening at the same time. I think students would be most intrigued to read this novel for that reason. It might also be nice to play some of the music that Octavian plays on his violin. Students might like to hear the type of music that Octavian was so good at--especially the Devil song.

5Q, 3P, S
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