Anderson, M. T.: The pox party.

Author:Chaplin, Nancy
Position:Young adult review - Brief article - Book review

ANDERSON, M. T. The pox party. (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1.) Candlewick. 353p. c2006. 978-0-7636-3679-1. $10.99. SA *

To quote the review of the audiobook in KLIATT, May 2007: This National Book Award winner is disturbing and fascinating. We first meet a boy, Octavian, who lives with his beautiful mother in pampered luxury in a home of strange men, known by numbers rather than names. The setting and language are archaic. Gradually we learn that Octavian and his mother are African and the setting is Boston at the dawn of the American Revolution. They are living at the Novanglian College of Lucidity as the objects of an experiment to discover if Africans have the same mental capacity as Caucasians. Later, as the intellectual and artistic brilliance of both mother and son prove incontrovertible, we learn that the college's funding by Southern plantation owners will end. This reversal catapults Octavian and his mother into the more typical life of slaves, from a life that has ill prepared them to assume the groveling humility that might spare...

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