Octavia E. Butler
Ms. Hen decided to read this book because she is interested in women science fiction writers. She had heard of Octavia Butler, but did not know anything about her. She is one of the only African American women science fiction writers. She is also the only sci-fi writer to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. Ms. Hen was impressed when she learned this.
This novel is difficult to read. Dana and her husband, Kevin are moving into a new house on Dana’s twenty-sixth birthday. Suddenly, she gets transported to the antebellum South, where her ancestor, Rufus, a slave owner, is about to die as a child. She saves him from drowning, but almost gets shot by his father, then is sent back to present day. Dana keeps going back to Maryland in that time, and it always happens when Rufus is in trouble and might be killed. She is considered a slave because she is black. Once she goes back with her husband Kevin.
Ms. Hen thought this book was hard because it brought her into the mind of a 1970s woman stuck in the time of slavery. She couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be Dana sent back to that time again and again, but it was realistic, though it is complete fantasy. It disturbed Ms. Hen to feel this way, to feel as if she were helpless and had no control over the character’s lives. This is what slavery was, having no control over your own destiny, and always at the whim of the master.
This book reminded Ms. Hen of slave narratives, and it was based on such books. Ms. Hen has read Frederick Douglass, NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS. Ms. Butler read this book as well and created her novel inspired by what she read. It also reminded Ms. Hen of BELOVED by Toni Morrison.
Ms. Hen thinks this is a book that everyone should read because it makes the reader look at what happened to this character and try to figure out what occurred. She is sent back in time to make sure her great-grandmother was born, but she learns of the details of the horrible circumstances in which the people lived. She got to see first-hand the experiences of her ancestors. There is no explanation why this happened, but Ms. Hen thinks it is a lesson that we must learn from the past, and teach the future generations the history of ourselves and the world around us.
Ms. Hen loved this book, though she thought it was disturbing. But since she is a hen that likes to be disturbed, she gives it high marks. Not everything Ms. Hen reads can be nice, and she likes it that way. This book also goes along with Ms. Hen’s going down the rabbit hole theme, and especially the TV show THE MINISTRY OF TIME, the Spanish show about time travel. Ms. Hen will travel through time as much as she can, because she is an adventurous hen.