Kindred

50 Books by Authors of Color: Book 42
Title: Kindred
Author: Octavia E. Butler
Medium: Book

Several different people advised me to only read this book on warm sunny days when I had someone to cuddle me after reading each chapter. I didn’t heed their advice and read Kindred at night on a dreary December day, not because I didn’t believe them, but because I couldn’t wait to read it. I had read parts of Kindred before, but never more than a few pages here and there, but once I sat down to actually read it, I finished it in a few hours because I couldn’t put it down.

Dana, an African American woman living in the 1970s, has just celebrated her twenty-sixth birthday when something strange starts to happen to her. Inexplicably, she is sitting in her home with her new husband one moment, and in the next she finds herself next to a river where a young white boy is drowning. Instinctively, Dana saves him, but finds herself rewarded by having a shot gun to her face and being called a racial slur.

As Dana continues to travel back and forth to save the boy she learns is named Rufus, she discovers that she is not only being transported through space, but also through time, as Rufus is the son of a plantation owner in the midst of slavery. Dana, knowing her family history quickly realizes that Rufus is one of her ancestors and saving his life is crucial to her own self-preservation.  Each time she travels it is to save Rufus’ life, often as a direct result of his own stupidity, and while in a normal person that would instill feelings of gratitude and appreciation, however, Rufus isn’t a normal person. Rufus, as the son of a wealthy slave and plantation owner views Dana and the other African Americans as little more than property.

As this book goes on I kind of want Dana to stop saving Rufus, self-preservation be damned. Knowing that Rufus is one of Dana’s ancestors, I was kind of expecting him to turn into an abolitionist and marry a black woman; instead Rufus pretty much is the exact opposite. He really turns out to be a horrible person which really just made me like the book more because Dana was really wrestling with saving Rufus or not saving Rufus.

Read this book, it’s fantastic.

Overall Rating: 5/5

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