Half Brother

cover artI’ve been meaning to read Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel since I met him at the CLA awards banquet where he won two awards for the book. It was the year before I joined the committee for one of the awards. I’m happy I’ve finally had a chance to read it.

The novel is heart-breaking, as I predicted it would be. The narrator sounds like a real teenage boy and the story explores the subplots of adolescence along with the main story of the family of scientists who adopted a chimp to further their research. His attachment to the chimp is contrasted with his father’s cold calculating view of things.

This is a book that would work well in a classroom or book club. There are many discussion topics to explore?

  • The moral implications of experimenting on animals
  • The level of intelligence apes possess
  • What makes a person a person
  • Do ends justify the means when trying to save someone you love?
  • Family dynamics
  • Friendship
  • Animal rights



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