I know, I haven't done a book review on ze blog before- it should always and only be about fashion, right?! Wrong!! I feel obligated to give you my review and opinions on this book. I read it in 1 week and 5 days- which is good, I think, especially as it’s not for an assignment or anything. Anyways, I found it hard to put it down, and when I felt I came to natural pauses, I wanted to continue (I nearly missed my stop on many occasions). Have you ever read a book that uses the fictional convention of time travel to transport a modern African American to an antebellum plantation? No? (Yes? Oh, okay.) Well this book does exactly that- in a very interesting and gripping way! I don’t want to give it away, but an overview of the story is: Dana, a black female writer is living in a L.A. suburb with her new husband, a white man called Kevin. Out of nowhere, she is transported to the antebellum South where she is called to save a boy’s (Rufus) life. These ‘transportations’ are what guides the book along, and allows the development of relationships to be established between Dana and the (individually named) slaves; Dana and Tom, Margaret and Rufus Weylin, and; Dana and Kevin. No relationship is ever stable and reading everything from Dana’s point of view, allows the reader to see things from a view so seldom taken, and even, ignored in books.
I can’t tell you exactly the reasons why I felt so connected with this book- some may be obvious, others not, but it just had me from the phrase ‘I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm.’ (That’s literally how the book starts). Its turns and predicaments felt very real to me- though it’s science fiction. However, having said that, Octavia has done a fantastic job of making Dana’s experiences very believable- as they would have happened most probably. A little bit contradictory, I know, but you know what I mean. Slavery was a harsh, gruelling time for African Americans (I salute them all) and the way Butler has written, she has allowed the reader to gain an understanding on how everyday life would have been, which brought me close to tears whenever ‘something’ unnecessary was going to happen to one of them. (Of course, no punishment I read in this book was new to me, nevertheless, it is still seriously disheartening- when will it not be?). This book actually had me ‘ahhhh-ing’ and gasping at the pages as I read!
I don’t want this post to be sad and droopy, but I guess for the majority of the book, the mood was low and seldom happy. But when ‘happy’ times did come, I could not help but smile to myself. (Like, when Rufus finally accepted his son, Joe).
Finally, I’ll just add that I really like Butler’s writing style. Butler has a way of explain something in a sentence, then following that said sentence with the story behind how that sentence came to be. This writing style is gripping, as we, people, are naturally nosey, reading always made me want to know more and what was going to happen next. As she combined short sentences with long ones (which I actually like doing myself when writing) she made it easier to read, and with short sentences- sometime, even one word sentences- she made her point effortlessly.
GO read Kindred if you are looking for a new read. You’ll find it hard to put it down! I certainly took that journey back- and forth- with Dana! I would also love to see this as a movie- and I would like to star in it!
I would LOVE to hear from someone who has read this book- what are your views on it?
I may be this way inclined again to share my opinions of any other books I read! I mean, it’s rude not to share, right?
R.I.P Octavia. And, thank you.
Until next time,
Until next time,