Books Magazine

Fiction Friday-Kindred by Octavia Butler

By Shawndrarussell
We are wrapping up Kindred in my classroom, and I think it has been a success. Many of the students said they enjoyed it, and those that have read ahead and finished the book said that they are kind of mad about the ending--any book that gets you mad, sad, or happy (ideally all three) is a good book in my opinion. Kindred is about Dana, a black woman living in the 1970's in California, and she is newly married to a white man, Kevin, who is a little bit older than her and sometimes is blind to the prejudices around him. His rationale is that since they were able to get married, it shows how far race relations have come (which of course is still not enough). Dana for whatever reason begins time traveling  not by her own power--literally she will disappear and reappear in 1800's in Maryland. The time travel is never explained, but it's just a vehicle for Butler to discuss slavery in a fresh way.  Many of my students said, "Oh man...more stuff about slavery? I feel like that's all we ever learn about in school--that and the Holocaust." Maybe education does focus too much on these horrific topics, but the great thing about Kindred is that even those kids who griped at first admitted that they had never read or thought about slavery quite like the way Butler shows it through Dana's eyes and pain as a free black woman from the future that gets treated, scolded, belittled, and beaten like a slave every time she suddenly transports back to the 1800's.
One of Butler's main messages is that of acceptance--in most of her novels, she puts people that society sometimes doesn't think fit together (black and white, old and young, same gender, etc.) and make them figure out how to relate to each other and focus on their similarities rather than their differences. We are all human, and therefore we have a common thread that should make us not have hatred, prejudice, cruelty, or meanness towards other humans (even animals---really anything living). Butler's topics of love, acceptance, the concept of home, purpose, and even our connections to our ancestors and the past all come to the surface of this novel and make you reflect on your own behavior, attitude, and interaction with others. Any book that urges you to be a better person deserves a thorough read, and you won't be disappointed in this simply written yet powerfully moving novel that made Butler known for creating science fiction with a heart--full of the complexities of human relationships and that most mysterious being--our heart. 

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Why I Love Wednesdays...Historical Fiction

    Love Wednesdays...Historical Fiction

    Wednesdays are often the time of the week where I have a sudden realization that the week is almost over. I'm always so thankful for this point. Read more

    By  Bookaholic
  • Friday Memes: Now Playing...

    Friday Memes: Playing...

    Follow Friday Question of the Week:What is on your current playlist right now?Oh Oh... It is questions like this that make me feel like the most boring person i... Read more

    By  Bookaholic
  • Fiction Friday-Water for Elephants

    I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! Again, my wonderful book club is the reason I read it (they pick some fabulous titles!), but I think I would have read this one anyone... Read more

    By  Shawndrarussell
  • Science Fiction Writer Camilla Stein

    Science Fiction Writer Camilla Stein

    Camilla Stein is a science fiction writer. She has lived all over the world and is currently based in the Netherlands. She is a multilingual specialist with... Read more

    By  Brigittethompson
  • Fiction Fridays: The Awakening

    The Awakening by Kate Chopin, published in 1899, is considered a scandalous novella about a woman who seemingly has it all but beneath the surface is... Read more

    By  Shawndrarussell
  • Friday Memes: Book Numbers

    Friday Memes: Book Numbers

    Follow Friday Question of the Week: How many books do you read in a week? And in what format do you read them, or listen to them? In school I probably read 1-... Read more

    By  Bookaholic
  • Friday Memes: Genre Wars

    Friday Memes: Genre Wars

    Follow Friday Question of the Week: Genre Wars! What's your favorite genre and which book in that genre made it your favorite? Ummm... Read more

    By  Bookaholic