Sunday, February 13, 2022

Review: KINDRED by Octavia E. Butler


Rating: 4/5 stars

This book was so interesting, and I immediately want to check out more works from Octavia Butler now. 

Kindred follows Dana, a Black woman who lives in 1976, as she inexplicably gets teleported back to the early 1800s in the South. She learns that she is being sent back to help her distant ancestor, the white son of a slave owner, whenever he is in trouble, but she doesn't know why or how it's happening. 

The concept of putting a person from the modern-day back into the time of slavery was fascinating to me. It feels like Octavia Butler did a lot of research for this book on the life of slaves and how they were treated. It felt genuine to me, at least. It was really interesting to see the juxtaposition of Dana, who is educated, with both the slaves and the white people in the 1800s, who all seem to know less than her. She gradually imparts her knowledge of historical events that take place in their future and some modern medical practices, as well as uses her reading and writing skills to help and teach others. 

Dana is a wonderful and strong protagonist. She stands up for herself and for other slaves, even to white men who are treating them wrong. She refuses to let anyone do anything to her that she does not consent to. I really enjoyed seeing her educate her ancestor when he was in the wrong. Dana does a lot to help the slaves in the past. 

Reading about slavery, even in fiction, is hard and not particularly enjoyable because it's horrible to think about people being treated in such a way and grappling with the fact that it really happened. That said, this book was still a good book and I would recommend it, and I think it's an important book too. Butler is an excellent writer. 

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