Publisher's Note:  

Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana's life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.


by Octavia E. Butler

Review Date:

Recommended Age:

Overall Rating:

Profanity / Language Rating:

Violence / Gore Rating:

Sex / Nudity Rating:

Overall Review:  

Originally published in 1979, Kindred by Octavia Butler demonstrates how well-traveled devices and subjects in the right hands can be innovative.  Brilliantly, she uses time travel to bring a fresh angle and perspective to the topic and evils of slavery.  From the first sentence, the protagonist's peril is palpable and her bewilderment encompassing.  Drawing a modern character back in time to the antebellum South and seeing the slavery situation through modern eyes gives depth, newness, and complexity to a topic that has been written about so many times.  Ms. Butler also wisely and artfully knows how to end a story without the need to explain every detail and yet to create satisfactory closure for the reader.  Kindred is an engrossing read that will appeal to historical fiction fans and make the reader thankful that they live in modern times.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  33 religious exclamations; 20 mild obscenities; 2 religious profanities; 47 derogatory names; 3 scatological names; 1 anatomical term.

Note:  Most derogatory names are the use of n*gger in antebellum South:


Violence/Gore:  Report of a severe injury; character threatened with gun; child said mother hit him; child reports father whips him as punishment; report of property destroyed in fire; brief scene in which character is punched and severely whipped; brief scene in which a man attacks a woman beating, hitting, ripping clothing with intent to rape (rape does not occur); character suffers broken limb in accident; report of death in accident; brief scene in which a slave is whipped and others forced to watch; character slapped; character beats another severely with fists, non-detailed; various reports of slaves being whipped; report/evidence of animal bites on a human; report of character being physically punished with ears being cut off; report husband beat wife; character displays evidence on face of physical abuse; character hits animal with stick; man kicks a woman in head; multiple, separate incidences in which characters are whipped, non-detailed; report (non-detailed) of character beaten to death while having a baby; character attempts suicide; character commits suicide; character kills another by stabbing, brief scene, non-detailed.


Sex/Nudity:  Passing mention of rape as possibly happening; joke made about "poor-nography" and porn; implied sex between unmarried adults; implied sex between married adults; character makes advances toward another; character makes unwanted sexual advances to another character, unclear if rape occurred; comment that slave children look like their master; a reference to rape; a master is said to be taking a slave to his bed; slave is threatened if she does not go to her master's bed; reference to "open your legs"; children are born out of wedlock; references to breeding slaves; brief references to how slaves were often raped; a character intends to sexual force/rape another, but is prevented; character stripped naked (to be whipped, non-sexual).

Mature Subject Matter:  

Slavery, prejudice, rape, illegitimate children, physical abuse, suicide, separation of families

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Characters drink; characters occassionally drunk; doctor administers opium; character takes laudanum.

Reviewed By Cindy
No image available