The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party

Book review by Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 15+

Compelling tale of slavery, experiment in Revolutionary era.

Parents say

age 15+

Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 11+

Based on 10 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 18+

Child translates pornography from Latin, sexual assault

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
age 15+

Complex novel that challenges its readers in many ways

Challenges well-loved myths about America: slavery is an ugly, hypocritical truth during the push for "liberty"; economic/market concerns interfered with the nation's ethical considerations; the Enlightenment had an ugly irrational side; the Revolution was not quite so clean as "good guys beat bad guys" (e.g., England may have been more enlightened than the colonies about slavery); etc. I think this is a wonderful development, because it gets us to think critically about those glossy myths, but these much-needed epiphanies could be painful for a reader who believes that America is exceptional and exclusively good. This novel will also help build strong context/content knowledge, but could be a huge struggle for a reader who has a shaky grasp of history and/or geography, and especially one not familiar with the often-beautiful but syntactically dense and vocabulary-rich 18th century style, which Anderson uses to great effect.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing

Book Details

Our Editors Recommend

Themes & Topics

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