Excerpt from The House of The Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The House of The Scorpion

by Nancy Farmer

The House of The Scorpion
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2002, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2002, 308 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Have I done you a favor? thought Eduardo as he watched the baby turn its head toward the bustling nurses in their starched, white uniforms. Will you thank me for it later?

Chapter 2: The Little House in the Poppy Fields

Matt stood in front of the door and spread his arms to keep Celia from leaving. The small, crowded living room was still blue with early morning light. The sun had not yet lifted above the hills marking the distant horizon.

"What's this?" the woman said. "You're a big boy now, almost six. You know I have to work." She picked him up to move him out of the way.

"Take me with you," begged Matt, grabbing her shirt and wadding it up in his hands.

"Stop that." Celia gently pried his fingers from the cloth. "You can't come, mi vida. You must stay hidden in the nest like a good little mouse. There're hawks out there that eat little mice."

"I'm not a mouse!" Matt yelled. He shrieked at the top of his voice in a way he knew was irritating. Even keeping Celia home long enough to deliver a tongue-lashing was worth it. He couldn't bear being left alone for another day.

Celia thrust him away. "¡Callate! Shut up! Do you want to make me deaf? You're just a little kid with cornmeal for brains!" Matt flopped sullenly into the big easy chair.

Celia immediately knelt down and put her arms around him. "Don't cry, mi vida. I love you more than anything in the world. I'll explain things to you when you're older." But she wouldn't. She had made the same promise before. Suddenly the fight went out of Matt. He was too small and weak to fight whatever drove Celia to abandon him each day.

"Will you bring me a present?" he said, wriggling away from her kiss.

"Of course! Always!" the woman cried.

So Matt allowed her to go, but he was angry at the same time. It was a funny kind of anger, for he felt like crying, too. The house was so lonely without Celia singing, banging pots, or talking about people he had never seen and never would see. Even when Celia was asleep -- and she fell asleep easily after long hours cooking at the Big House -- the rooms felt full of her warm presence.

When Matt was younger, it hadn't seemed to matter. He'd played with his toys and watched the television. He'd looked out the window where fields of white poppies stretched all the way to the shadowy hills. The whiteness hurt his eyes, and so he turned from them with relief to the cool darkness inside.

But lately Matt had begun to look at things more carefully. The poppy fields weren't completely deserted. Now and then he saw horses -- he knew them from picture books -- walking between the rows of white flowers. It was hard to tell who rode them in all that brightness, but it seemed the riders weren't adults, but children like him.

And with that discovery grew a desire to see them more closely.

Matt had watched children on television. He saw that they were seldom alone. They did things together, like building forts or kicking balls or fighting. Even fighting was interesting when it meant you had other people around. Matt never saw anyone except Celia and, once a month, the doctor. The doctor was a sour man and didn't like Matt at all.

Matt sighed. To do anything, he would have to go outdoors, which Celia said again and again was very dangerous. Besides, the doors and windows were locked.

Matt settled himself at a small wooden table to look at one of his books. Pedro el Conejo, said the cover. Matt could read -- slightly -- both English and Spanish. In fact, he and Celia mixed the two languages together, but it didn't matter. They understood each other.

Pedro el Conejo was a bad little rabbit who crawled into Señor MacGregor's garden to eat up his lettuces. Señor Mac-Gregor wanted to put Pedro into a pie, but Pedro, after many adventures, got away. It was a satisfying story.

Copyright © 2002 by Nancy Farmer

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...
  • Book Jacket: A Gentleman in Moscow
    A Gentleman in Moscow
    by Amor Towles
    It is June 21, 1922, and 33-year-old Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is convicted of being a class ...
  • Book Jacket: I Contain Multitudes
    I Contain Multitudes
    by Ed Yong
    If a stranger were to accost you on the street and tell you that, from birth, you have never been ...

First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain

An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.