I just finished The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing (Volume I: The Pox Party), which I won through a contest on Dawn's blog. Thanks Dawn!
Confession: I won it quite a long time ago. Started it. Stopped reading. Started again. Stopped reading. Started again recently because I hadn't been to the library in ages and was desperate for something to read while lying in bed at night....
This should not be taken as a reflection on the book. M.T. Anderson is clearly a genius. The book is written mostly in Octavian's eighteenth-century voice, which is no small feat. I enjoyed his writing, but it was paced more like a classic.
Don't get me wrong. I love classics. But I don't think I was prepared for the classic-feel (and the commitment it takes to finish a classic) when I started reading this particular book. Does that make any sense at all?
I didn't read any synopses of this book before I started, so, although the beginning was interesting (because his circumstances were so unusual), I didn't understand what the main conflict was until Octavian himself figures it out (well past page 50!). Just goes to show you that geniuses can break plotting "rules" and still get starred reviews. *Go, Mr. Anderson!* (That was honestly meant to be a compliment. And, on a side note, I heard Mr. Anderson speak -- and sing -- at the SCBWI LA conference and he was brilliant.)
Click here to read the School Library Journal and Booklist reviews via Amazon.
Have you ever read a book like this? You knew it was good, but you just had a hard time getting into it?