Parable of the Sower

Monday, September 25, 2017

Parable of the Sower
Octavia Butler, 1993

Premise: The world outside is getting worse. Their neighborhood is safe for now, but it won't be forever. But who will listen to a young girl with a diary and some profound ideas?

Wow. Now I completely understand why I've seen people referencing this book recently.

The society in the novel isn't the society we have now, but it's a very plausible future on the way to a total breakdown. Corporate profit above all else, vast poverty, violence, and dangerous drug abuse, no infrastructure that individuals don't pay for, no social safety net for anyone but the wealthy.

The main character lives in a walled neighborhood and records her thoughts in a diary. She is a teenager, but she recognizes that the world is not "going back to the way it was," the way the adults in her life hope. They have to figure out how to live in the world that will come.

Part of her insight is practical, and part is religious. The book has at its heart her relationship with suffering and empathy and her beliefs about the world. Her beliefs drive her to prepare for the worst, but also to reach out to others and share her insight. It's clear from the start that this black girl from California has to potential to grow into a religious leader.

I think if I'd read this book in high school, my life's relationship with religion might have been very different. That's how good this book is.

It's insanely good. The writing is beautiful and powerful. It drives the reader to think harder about the world and our place in it, to plan for the future. To believe in each other and our potential, without minimizing how much evil we bring on each other.

5 Stars - An Awesome Book

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