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Hello, everyone. I hope you will forgive my long absence. I needed to "disconnect" for a while. In fact, I'm not sure I'm ready to come back fully online yet but I want you to know that I have not forgotten you. And so, without further ado, I want to share a new book review.
Kindred
My Rating: 5 out of 5  


Two weeks ago I finished reading Kindred by Octavia Butler. I had considered not writing a review because even now I struggle to express the profound effect this book has had on me. Kindred is classified in the science fiction/fantasy genre (not something I usually gravitate towards) but I tend to think of the book as historical fiction, with a sci-fi twist.

The story is about a "modern" black woman--well, modern for the 1970s when the book was written--named Dana who mysteriously travels back in time to save the life of a white Southern slave owner's son, who also happens to be Dana's ancestor. Dana must navigate through life in a time when she could legally be owned by another person because of the color of her skin and try to balance preserving the well-being of her ancestor (thus ensuring her own existence in the future) while witnessing the great cost her interference has on the lives of those human beings her ancestor claims as property.

Kindred is a masterfully written novel that feels very authentic (thanks in large part to the author's extensive research of slave narratives and historical documents from the time). The novel is a page turner indeed, with a dynamic plot that explores the complex and tedious relationship between individual and society, legislation and morality, and, of course, race and class. Perhaps most importantly to me as an amateur genealogist, the novel is a powerful reminder that the history that we read about in the pages of books and see in films and pictures was lived by our real flesh and blood relatives who paved the way for our existence. We may not ever know how the choices our ancestors made during their lifetimes have influence in our own lives but those stories are worth seeking out. As Dana discovers in the novel, knowing your family's past changes you in many unexpected ways. I can personally attest to how incredibly rewarding it is to discover those small fragments of family history left behind by those who came before us. I hope your curiosity has been piqued!