The Pox Party

The Pox Party

Taken From Accounts by His Own Hand and Other Sundry Sources

Book - 2006
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National Book Award Winner!
This deeply provocative novel reimagines the past as an eerie place that has startling resonance for readers today.

It sounds like a fairy tale. He is a boy dressed in silks and white wigs and given the finest of classical educations. Raised by a group of rational philosophers known only by numbers, the boy and his mother -- a princess in exile from a faraway land -- are the only persons in their household assigned names. As the boy's regal mother, Cassiopeia, entertains the house scholars with her beauty and wit, young Octavian begins to question the purpose behind his guardians' fanatical studies. Only after he dares to open a forbidden door does he learn the hideous nature of their experiments -- and his own chilling role in them. Set against the disquiet of Revolutionary Boston, M. T. Anderson's extraordinary novel takes place at a time when American Patriots rioted and battled to win liberty while African slaves were entreated to risk their lives for a freedom they would never claim. The first of two parts, this deeply provocative novel reimagines the past as an eerie place that has startling resonance for readers today.
Publisher: Cambridge, MA : Candlewick Press, 2006.
ISBN: 9780763624026
0763624020
Branch Call Number: YA ANDERSON
Characteristics: 351 pages ; 24 cm.
Alternative Title: Octavian Nothing

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WVMLStaffPicks Aug 28, 2014

Set during the Revolutionary War, a young African slave named Octavian is raised by a group of enigmatic, undeniably creepy scholars in an institution called the Novanglian College of Lucidity. Octavian is schooled in Latin, Greek and the classical arts and comes to view the odd peculiarities of his upbringing as normal—until he opens a forbidden door and discovers the real reason he is being housed at the College. At times disturbing, grotesque, bizarrely funny and written in rich prose, this examination of race and rebellion will challenge readers of all ages

a
acfrosie
Jul 12, 2014

I loved this book, even as I suffered when the main character was abused. The ending is a terrific plot twist that lifted me up, way up! I cannot wait to read the sequel. This is a book that all Americans need to read, in my opinion.
The Pox Party is a rich and deep story of many types of people and parts of our history that are almost NEVER exposed. I taught English for a very long time, and I recommend this book highly.
I am sorry it is filed under young adult fiction. This is an important book for adults of all backgrounds. It would be perhaps shocking to a middle school student but a mature young person would be greatly educated and enriched by reading The Pox Party.
I am a life-long voracious reader, with life-long exposure to many types of books, cultures and neighborhoods. I think this book is just splendid!! I think would be an excellent book for a high school class.

It IS puzzling at first (that's a GOOD thing) but the mysteries are revealed in a good plot line. Octavian's emotional history is consistent with current psychological understanding of abused persons.
Please tell your friends about it. They'll be glad you did.

ChristchurchLib Nov 05, 2013

"At the dawn of the Revolutionary War, young Octavian is raised in highly unusual circumstances at the Novanglian College of Lucidity. Though the scholars give him a first-rate education, they also monitor him closely… too closely. As he grows older, Octavian learns the horrifying truth of his situation, and that truth leads him to question his understanding of himself and the Revolution: if the Patriots can fight for their freedom, why can't he fight for his? With complex, historically accurate language, this book will appeal to readers who enjoy sophisticated, unflinching storytelling. If you like Octavian Nothing, you might also be interested in Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson." Teen Scene November 2013 newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=695748

d
danielestes
Mar 16, 2012

Sometimes I like to dive into a book without any foreknowledge of plot or context. Unfortunately, I began this book the same way and was lost and disinterested for the first 150 pages. I eventually figured out the writing is meant to emulate the speech and style of 18th century colonial America. This was a relief because I didn't understand why I was having so much trouble comprehending the language at first.

The story of Octavian is gutsy in it's style and delivery though perhaps too gutsy. It's difficult to really feel Octavian's struggles because he acts so distantly un-human too often. We learn the secret of his plight almost as he learns it, which causes us both to be confused. I literally thought Octavian's caretakers at the beginning were robots and I was reading some sort of steampunk novel.

The novel finds a better voice near the middle through to the end, but then the ending is vague. Perhaps this story is the setup for the next? Still, I don't have the interest or energy to find out.

t
tocch101
Oct 20, 2011

Intriguing. Doesn't offer a concrete story line and I enjoyed the mystery, similar to life.

chiennoir Aug 11, 2009

A challenging read from the brilliant M.T. Anderson.

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acfrosie
Jul 12, 2014

acfrosie thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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Navy_Wren_3
Jul 26, 2011

Navy_Wren_3 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

chiennoir Aug 11, 2009

chiennoir thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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