BOOK REVIEW: Parable of the Sower (Earthseed #1) by Octavia Butler

Publication Date: July 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
Genre:  Science Fiction 

Publisher: Open Road Media
356 pages
Buy:  Kindle | Paperback


Lauren Olamina and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods remaining on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Behind the walls of their defended enclave, Lauren’s father, a preacher, and a handful of other citizens try to salvage what remains of a culture that has been destroyed by drugs, disease, war, and chronic water shortages. While her father tries to lead people on the righteous path, Lauren struggles with hyperempathy, a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive to the pain of others.
When fire destroys their compound, Lauren’s family is killed and she is forced out into a world that is fraught with danger. With a handful of other refugees, Lauren must make her way north to safety, along the way conceiving a revolutionary idea that may mean salvation for all mankind.


Octavia Butler was ahead of her time.  Every book I read of hers just reinforces my feelings about this. This book was written in 2012 but it has very sharp contrasts to today, its terrifying. 

This is a dark and intelligent coming of age story.  Society has broken down, people live in walled cities, or risk being out on the streets where they are raped, murdered, robbed or become addicted to drugs.

Lauren knows that her peaceful community can't last and that they must be prepared but due to her age and people's need to live in a bubble she wasn't able to get the people to be properly prepared for the inevitable.  When it happens she is left to find her way in the every increasingly violent world. 

Lauren was a preachers daughter and while she respected her father she didn't believe in his religion and "found" one of her own, Earthseed. Earthseed creates God out of change, and as Lauren travels she writes down her thoughts and beliefs on Earthseed and starts teaching it to those she finds as companions.  Its based on community and either accepting change or molding it in your favor. 

This is such a well written and thoughtful book.  Some of it is horrific to consider that the country could go back to slavery, and debt prisons but if we aren't careful some of this prophetic book may come true.  

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