Hi. My name is Tami. I am the author of this blog. You can contact me by posting a comment or emailing me at readaton@gmail.com. I am also happy to add you as a friend at www.goodreads.com where I keep track of everything I am reading.

I LOVE to read. I am pursuing my master's degree in library and information science at San Jose State University. Right now I mostly use this blog for class assignments.

No matter your reading tastes you will find books for you here. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing

by M.T. Anderson
Candlewick Press, 2006
ISBN 0763624020
358 pages

3 (out of 5) STARS

Plot Summary

Young Octavian is being raised by a group of rational philosophers known only by numbers — but it is only after he opens a forbidden door that learns the hideous nature of their experiments, and his own chilling role them. Set in Revolutionary Boston, M. T. Anderson’s mesmerizing novel takes place at a time when Patriots 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 past as an eerie place that has startling resonance for readers today.


Critical Evaluation

This book was a difficult read. However, many of the reviews I read about this book said the same thing. I enjoyed the first part of the book quite a bit. The experiment and the environment that Octavian was being raised in was interesting. I also liked how the setting was during the revolutionary war. So many books about slavery occur during the civil war.

Once the "management" changed hands of the home Octavian was living in and Octavian went to the pox party I did not enjoy the book quite as much. It got more confusing. Then there were quite a few pages crossed out and scratched through. I felt bogged down at this point. I did finish the book and hope the best for Octavian but I probably will not read part II.

Reader’s Annotation

Octavian Nothing is a young slave boy born into slavery and raised as an experiment to determine if African people are as capable as those of European descent.

Information about the author

M. T. Anderson is a published author of children's books and young adult books. Some of the published credits of M. T. Anderson include The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves, Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware: M.T. Anderson's Thrilling Tales, Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware (M. T. Anderson's Thrilling Tales). http://www.jacketflap.com/m-t-anderson/209487.


historical fiction

Curriculum Ties

This would be a great book to use for any unit on slavery. It also takes place during the Revolutionary war which is an interesting twist because so many books about slavery take place around the time of the Civil War.

Booktalking Ideas

*Talk about the freedoms (or lack thereof) that slaves had. *Play some of the violin music that Octavian learned how to play.

Reading Level

age 14 and up

Challenge Issues


Why Included?

I chose this book because of the numerous awards it had won. Such as National Book Award for Young People's Literature (2006), British Fantasy Award (2007), Horn Book Fanfare Best Book (2006), BCCB Blue Ribbon Book (2006), Printz Honor (2007) Printz Honor (2007), ALA's Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (2007), Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction and Poetry (2007).

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