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Friday, August 28, 2020

Review: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

by Octavia E. Butler 

Publisher: Beacon Press
Publish Date: February 1, 2004 (originally published June 1979)
Kindle Edition
306 Pages
Genres: Historical Fiction, Sci-Fi

Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana's life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.

My Review:

What an extremely powerful story.  I started this yesterday evening and had a hard time putting it down.  As soon as I woke up, I immediately picked it back up and I am just blown away.  

I thoroughly enjoyed the dual time line aspect of this.  Dana and her husband, Kevin, live presently in 1979, but Dana gets taken back in time unexpectedly - sometimes with her husband.  She figures out that she is in presence of her ancestors but quickly learns that her family lineage may have come at a higher price than she could've ever imagined.

"The possibility of meeting a White adult here frightened me, more than the possibility of street violence ever had at home."  Mind you, this was written in 1979, and it's a sad state of affairs that the "possibility" of street violence is still happening at an alarming rate in 2020.  What Dana was going through within her present day and then having to go back in time to see slavery first hand... and surviving the only way she could.... I couldn't even imagine.  The author does an amazing job of bringing this to life - which was definitely not easy to read. A quote that stuck with me greatly: "I never realized how easily people could be trained to accept slavery." My heart... And the author definitely shows in the back and forth how quickly they both had to get acclimated - at first for survival and later because it was what they were used to.

I found the dynamic between Dana and Rufus quite fascinating.  Extremely complex and yet somehow you really begin to understand there are so many things that keep them from not tearing each other apart.  I found myself getting so unbelievably angry at certain scenes.  I am incredibly impressed with the strength and fortitude that Dana had in all the hard decisions she had to make.  I'm mad I haven't read this author before but I certainly will be checking out her other work. 

Highly recommend.  


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