House of the Scorpion Review

Here’s another book on the Mockingjay booklist:

Farmer, Nancy. The House of the Scorpion

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.

Here’s my review on Goodreads:

wow wow wow.

This is one of those books that stays with you in an eerie and disturbing way.

The main character, Matt, is treated like you would treat a farm animal. You treat them well enough, because you don’t want them to get sick and die, but they aren’t like a pet that you keep in the house with you. Matt is like this. He’s not considered a human and they keep him in a separate area. He’s not allowed an education or even toys to play with. He’s a beast.

I had a hard time with this because even though Matt is a clone, he’s still a clone of a human, and just because he’s a duplicate of another human, its not just DNA that makes us, but also our experiences and how we are raised.

I couldn’t bear to see how he was treated, but I love the way he was so curious and always asking questions. I also loved that not everyone thought that what El Patron was doing was good (and not just because he wanted to live forever).

This is a great book for opening up conversations. So I think this would be a great book discussion choice.


About kitkat

I'm a teen services librarian in Chili (pronounced Chai-Lie) New York with a passion for engaging teens in the love of reading, libraries and having fun!
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