Book Review: Kindred

A look at the book “Kindred”

Kaitlyn Hall




Octavia E. Butler




Dana must risk her life to save the life of a boy who lived more than a hundred years before she was born- if she doesn’t prevent his death, she will cease to exist.

Written by Octavia E. Butler, Kindred chronicles Dana’s unintentional and increasingly dangerous trips through time to the pre-Civil War South.

The date is June 9, 1976. Dana is celebrating her 26th birthday with her husband, Kevin. Suddenly, Dana disappears from the present and enters the past. She begins a journey that will last only days in the present but will span years in the past.

Dana and Rufus first meet when she rescues him from drowning in a stream. She returns to his side when he almost burns his house down, and each time thereafter when he risks his life.

The real danger for Dana, is that she is an African-American woman. She is educated, and thus feared by those she meets in the South.

Her stays in the past become increasingly prolonged as Rufus ages. Three hours in the present lasts eight months in the past. The only way that Dana can return to the present is by risking her own life.

The reader feels every lash of the whip as it hits Dana’s back. They feel her hatred for Weylin, Rufus’ father and a plantation owner. They gasp when they realize Kevin was left in 1819.

This book is the perfect marriage of juxtaposition. It is classified as a science fiction novel, yet the historical aspect of the book is so well-written that the reader feels as if they are there.

Octavia E. Butler writes with such vivid detail that the words become pictures in the minds of the readers. She writes with simplicity, yet her characters and the ideas that she presents are complex.

Kindred is a book that has something for every reader. The pages are filled with adventure, love, hate, history, and just a bit of science fiction.

Though it was published 34 years ago in 1979, the importance of and discussions about race are just as important today.

If Rufus survives, so will Dana. If he dies, her life will not begin.


We think it deserves: 5/5 Stars

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Book Review: Kindred

by admin time to read: 2 min