I felt much more kindly towards M.T. Anderson as an author at the end of his book The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party (seriously, don’t hold yourself back when naming your novel – no one likes a succint title these days), when he, in an epilogue with much plainer language than the rest of the book, admitted that the interplay between race, slavery and the Revolutionary War was incredibly complex without throwing in the narrative thrust of his plot.
I found this book to be pedantic, overly aware of its own literary voice, and far too caught up in its own explication of certain 18th century philosophies to be accessible to the average reader, much less the average teenage reader. The narrator, a black slave boy being raised by a group of philosophers interested in the limits of the African mind, is entirely restrained in his narration of his childhood, lacking all emotion except the natural curiousity encouraged by his group of father figures. I didn’t believe, therefore, in the maturity of his emotion at a crucial moment late in the book, when he had been completely stifled up until that point. I would have expected a child devoid of any human compassion, and instead we are given a man of strong character and determination, and I’m not sure where he came from.
I guess my emotions about this book are rather hard to quantify. I enjoyed all the literary/scientific references to different theories of the day, but I don’t know if a young adult book is the best venue to be presenting them. I found this book to be aloof, and I didn’t really engage with the characters. M.T. Anderson does make some horrifying points about America’s (and I suppose most countries of that time) reigning beliefs about the humanity of the African people, but I just felt like I was wading through Dickens to get to it.
Yesterday, I got a copy of The Angel’s Game, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, from the library. Hmm. I have so much to do this weekend, but what I would really like to do is sit in the sun and read this…
Books read so far this year – 57 (actually haven’t finished two, so it’s really 55) which is closer to the 58.33 that I need to be at to reach 100 by the end of the year than I thought I was. I should keep reading children’s novels.
Library fines currently – $1.75 (I know, I’m surprised too. The sad part is that I have yet to scrape up cash (who carries that?) to pay it.)
Hours spent setting up my new T.V. with cables to attach to my laptop – 1.5, if that (I am Jenious with electronics. Yes. With a capital J.)
Best Buy guys that I may or may not have flirted with in order to get the exact cables I needed on the first try – 3. (“Um. I think I might need a sound cable, too, with this other cable, right?” – Translation: “Hey buddy, I’m not walking out of here without a sound cable. VGA cables, unlike HDMI, don’t incorporate the sound cable in them.”)
If you’re really lucky, I will post later today about moving from a cubicle to a shared office, with a coveted window. It’s an exciting time.