Sunday, December 4, 2011
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
At his coming-of-age party, Matteo Alacrán asks El Patrón's bodyguard, "How old am I?...I know I don't have a birthday like humans, but I was born."
"You were harvested," Tam Lin reminds him. "You were grown in that poor cow for nine months and then you were cut out of her."
To most people around him, Matt is not a boy, but a beast. A room full of chicken litter with roaches for friends and old chicken bones for toys is considered good enough for him. But for El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium -- a strip of poppy fields lying between the U.S. and what was once called Mexico -- Matt is a guarantee of eternal life. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself for Matt is himself. They share identical DNA.
It leaves me feeling a little of what I had felt with UNWIND. Matt is El Patron and El Patron is a doozy. The synopsis clearly states the fact of what Matt is but as to what end one just has to wonder.
All that aside, there are so many intriguing sub plots in this one... each equally shocking as the next one. Take the crots or the eejits- slaves out of mindless drones worked and treated like livestock. And when done with, treated as nothing more consequential than mulch. Cripeys! It brings back little of what scared the bejeesus out of me when I first figured what Soilen Green was about.
But there's Matt too. Why treat him so differently? As knowledge of others surface, it becomes obvious what he'd been made for. And still, it shocked me. But more shocking was how others like him ended up. Thoughts of unpersons be scary.
The best part? Tam Lin. I could have more of him. The most terrifyinng? Rosa. Both how she was and what became of her. Then there's El Patron himself whose behavior must never mistaken for benevolence.