The Child Buyer Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Child Buyer

A mysterious representative has come to a small New England town to purchase a highly intelligent and promising 10-year-old boy named Barry Rudd from his parents and take him away for training and use in a special corporate defense project. (The "training" involves not only isolation and reeducation but major surgery.) The uproar has led to violence, battles on the school board, and an investigation by the state legislature. The story is told in the form of transcripts of the investigation, wherein various legislators -- from earnest and intelligent Senator Mansfield to blowsy conservative Senator Skypack and nearly somnolent Senator Voyolko question the principals. The tale is gripping, and surprisingly humorous within the larger, chilling context of the nature of education, child psychology, and economics. Hersey, primarily known as a journalist and "literary" novelist, made one of his occasional forays into science fiction with this 1961 bestseller.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of The Child Buyer

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 10%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 10% Tone of book    -   cynical or dry-wit FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Coming of age    -   Yes Repressive society story    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Family relations    -   Yes Who's a slave/repressed?    -   discrim against people with mental powers

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a kid


Earth setting:    -   20th century Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   some scientific explanation Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript of kissing How much dialogue?    -   mostly dialog

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John Hersey Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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