Saturday, January 17, 2009

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

I don't think I've mentioned before that I started a new book group at work that is focusing on science fiction and fantasy novels. You all know that this is not my favorite genre so it has been interesting reading one of these novels every month since August now. For January we read Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler.
Lauren Olamina lives with her family in a neighborhood enclave surrounded by walls. The outside world is dangerous and unpredictable since the US society has collapsed. There are crazy drug addicts and people who are starving and living in shacks ready to pounce on the neighborhood at any sign of weakness. Lauren is a deep-thinker who has developed a religion she calls Earthseed and that she thinks will be the cure for the ills of the world. When she is finally forced to leave the compound she starts heading north, up the coast of California with several friends and people they pick up along the way. Their lives are threatened daily, but they manage to band together and form their own community in which Lauren begins to teach them about Earthseed.
This novel was very relevant to our society today. One of the major themes of the book is the idea of preparedness and of being realistic about what can happen to society. I enjoyed reading about how Lauren and her friends dealt with the danger and anxiety of living in chaos, but it was definitely disturbing. However, I think it was instructive to be reminded about how we should prepare for the worst but have hope for the best.

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