Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Very interesting. A lot to think about with this story. This was a brutal story to read. It really forces readers out of their comfort zone and to endure the stark reality many slaves faced in the US’s past.

Dana Franklin’s life has been pretty ordinary. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, she is inexplicably wrenched through time to antebellum Maryland. After saving a white boy from drowning, she’s faced with the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to her time in order to save her life. Dana comes to realize that the boy she saved is Rufus, one of her ancestors. Throughout numerous time jumps, Dana comes to realize that Rufus is always in the hands of trouble. To keep her timeline safe, Dana must keep Rufus from dying before her ancestor is born, but can Dana convince Rufus that the way he sees black people and women is wrong?

I loved Dana with every fiber of my being. She was amazing and the horrific things she went through were unforgivable. We’ve all heard about how awful slavery was, but seeing it this way was different. I don’t think history books have accurately describe how utterly dehumanizing slavery was. There is so much Dana had to do and small changes she had to make to her behavior just to be able to blend in, and even then she still stood out because of her manner. Being from the 1970’s Dana is definitely a radical in the eyes of the antebellum people.

Her relationship with Rufus was so complicated. I had really hoped she was going to be able to change him for better, but as time continued on Rufus got worse. He’s been conditioned to believe that the world is their for his entertainment and anything he wants should be his. Which is not only wrong, but such a dangerous mindset. One on journey back, Dana accidentally brings her white husband Kevin with her. Kevin both helps and hinders Dana’s mission. I liked Kevin for the most part, but there were still several things he did or said that were problematic.

The ending to this was something else. I was so scared for Dana, but she is a strong woman and I was pretty certain she’d be able to take care of herself. This was an amazing time travel story unlike anything I’ve ever read. I won’t be forgetting this story anytime soon.

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