The House of the Scorpion - Rave
Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I'm a total book nerd. I read. I read boxes and packages, magazines and books, anything with words. So of course when my sister arrived for a visit complete with required summer reading, I devoured it in one day.

The House of Scorpion
, by Nancy Farmer, has garnered all sorts of awards, including the Newberry Medal. The book is sci-fi (for SF fans, it's juvie sci-fi lite. Sorry, John Wright, no Space Princesses here!) Set sometime in the future, when cloning and implanting chips in animals and people's brains is commonplace, Farmer explores the ethics of exploitation. It is not heavy handed, written for about 10-15 year olds.

The story follows Matteo Alacran, the clone of a notorious, and rich, druglord-cum-dictator as he grows up from a sheltered six year old boy to a fourteen year old manling. (Yes. I made that word up. Words that end in ling are cool in my nerdy bookworm opinion!) It touches on themes of humanity, cloning, pro-life themes such as destroying life (both pre- and post- born) for personal gain and therapeutic reasons, as well as the harmful effects of drug use and reasons why one might get addicted. Noticeably absent are steamy love scenes, four letter words, and throwaway trashy women. Catholicism provides a cultural background and source for the morality, but it's not a catechism or theological exercise.

I was reminded of Orson Scott Card's best work, Ender's Game, although Farmer does not quite have his gift of characterization and the ending was anticlimactic and a little trite. I do recommend it as supplementary high school reading and modern fiction, however.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 8/08/2007 09:51:00 AM | Permalink | |