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Lexicon a Novel

A book by Max Barry

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Are You A Dog or a Cat Person?

  • Apr 20, 2013
This is the fourth Max Barry title I have read (Company, Syrup, Jennifer Government) and like all his previous titles, this book is more of a parody than real tale. Wil is set upon in an airport bathroom by two men who put something in his eye and start asking him a series of mundane questions (Are you a dog or cat person? What is your favorite color?). Wil attempts to escape and is almost killed by his girlfriend. He is then forced to go with the two men.

Meanwhile, Emily is a street hustler, who gets recruited by a man who takes her to a mysterious school where she must pass tests. The people all in the school all have names of dead poets. They ask her some to the same questions that Wil was given. Later she and Wil's paths will converge.

I liked this book for about fifty pages and then I just kept waiting for it to end. It is a far cry from the author's prior books. I felt uncomfortable with Emily because she is only 16 and there were some sexual situations involved. Overall I give this book just under three stars.

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April 23, 2013
About the reviewer

Ranked #9
I first got on this blog to discuss my first passion which is books. Since I have gotten on I find that books are only a piece of this blog and I can discuss just about anything that comes to mind. It … more
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At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren’t taught history, geography, or mathematics—at least not in the usual ways. Instead, they are taught to persuade. Here the art of coercion has been raised to a science .Students harness the hidden power of language to manipulate the mind and learn to break down individuals by psychographic markers in order to take control of their thoughts. The very best will graduate as “poets”: adept wielders of languagewho belong to a nameless organization that is as influential as it is secretive.

Whip-smart orphan Emily Ruff is making a living running a three-card Monte game on the streets of San Francisco when she attracts the attention of the organization’s recruiters. She is flown across the country for the school’s strange and rigorous entrance exams, where, once admitted, she will be taught the fundamentals of persuasion by Brontë, Eliot, and Lowell—who have adopted the names of famous poets to conceal their true identities. For in the organization, nothing is more dangerous than revealing who you are: Poets must never expose their feelings lest they be manipulated. Emily becomes the school’s most talented prodigy until she makes a catastrophic mistake: She falls in love.

Meanwhile, a seemingly innocent man named Wil Jamieson is brutally ambushed by two strange men in an airport bathroom. Although he has no recollection of anything they claim ...
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