Parklands-Turner Teen Readers' Corner
Book Review by Kiara Nickens
What made me interested in reading Octavia Butler’s novel Kindred is that it is about a female time-traveler. On her 26th birthday, Dana finds herself transported from her 1970s living room in Southern California to a lake in Maryland in 1880. There she saves Rufus, a little white boy who was drowning. She soon finds out that Rufus is one of her ancestors. Dana is a Black woman. Seeing Rufus’s relatives running over, she becomes afraid, triggering her teleporting back to the safety of her apartment. But within minutes, she’s back again in antebellum Maryland.
After multiple times of being pushed back in time whenever Rufus is in danger, Dana’s husband offers to accompany her. With Kevin by her side, Dana stays for a few months (which only amounts to minutes in her time). At one point, Dana accidentally leaves Kevin in the past for years before she again is pushed back in time. Although he loves Dana and tries to support her whenever she goes “down South,” Kevin (a white man) never truly understands Dana’s point of view.
Each time Dana goes back in time, Rufus goes through his “time travels” also. Once a charming little boy, Rufus eventually becomes a terrible man--a white slave master who rapes, separates families, etc. Eventually, Rufus (now an adult and master of the plantation) gets in a argument with Dana. At this point, Rufus is so incorrigible that Dana accepts that she can no longer “save” Rufus; so she goes home for good.
If I were to rate this book from 1-10--with 1 being bad and 10 being extremely good--I would give Kindred a 10. Kindred is my favorite book and the creativity that Ms.Butler displayed when writing the book is very brilliant. In this novel, Ms.Butler writes an interesting sci-fi novel with a strong female character, but then she weaves together and juxtaposes many interesting topics for discussions such as interracial relationships in both the past and the present.