Kindred by Octavia Butler

This book! Kindred by Octavia Butler is an absolute must-read for everyone in my opinion. It truly highlights the horrors of slavery that are so frequently looked over in our history books today.

Dana’s torment begins when she suddenly vanishes on her 26th birthday from California, 1976, and is dragged through time to antebellum Maryland to rescue a boy named Rufus, heir to a slaveowner’s plantation. She soon realizes the purpose of her summons to the past: protect Rufus to ensure his assault of her Black ancestor so that she may one day be born. As she endures the traumas of slavery and the soul-crushing normalization of savagery, Dana fights to keep her autonomy and return to the present.

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Octavia Butler’s writing truly builds the story in a way that shows just how dramatic this change is for Dana. I love that this book doesn’t hold any punches about this time in American history and the way it explores the relationship of Dana, Kevin, and Rufus Weylin throughout time.

This story does not sugarcoat its depiction of slavery, which is why I think it’s such a necessary read. Additionally, the element of time travel showcases one woman’s life in both the 19th century and the 20th century, and how earth-shattering and drastically her life is changed while she can do nothing to stop it is such a difficult concept to grasp. As a reader, you cannot even imagine going through what Dana has experienced, but the sad truth is that this was the reality for so many black Americans for so long.

Barely Bookish Podcast

This Octavia Butler’s Kindred was discussed on the Barely Bookish podcast with special guest Candace. We do a deep dive and analysis of the story and how it resonates with today’s readers. Candace has previously read this book and other works by Octavia Butler, while this is my first introduction to Octavia Butler’s writing.

Kindred TV Show

I absolutely adored this book, so when I saw that Hulu was making an adaptation, I was so excited. When it comes to the Kindred TV show, the parts I have seen so far really seem to dilute the messages that Octavia Butler was trying to get across about the history of slavery in the United States. Honestly, this show was so incredibly upsetting to me that I have to talk about it.

First, there are many times that Thomas and Margaret Weylin refer to themselves as farmers instead of plantation owners, which is incredibly strange in and of itself. They also seemed to have made everything a bit nicer and seem to be following this idea that American slavery isn’t nearly as bad as it actually was, which I am absolutely not okay with.

Second, there is way too much storyline revolving around Kevin and Thomas’s relationship. When we are in the past, Dana seems to become a background character instead of highlighting what she goes threw. So far, I am not liking what I am seeing.

Cast List

  • Dana – Mallori Johnson
  • Kevin – Micah Stock
  • Thomas Weylin – Ryan Kwanten
  • Margaret Weylin – Gayle Rankin
  • Rufus Weylin – David Alexander Kaplan
  • Luke – Austin Smith
  • Sarah – Sophina Brown
  • Olivia – Sheria Irving

Barely Bookish Podcast

Not going to lie, it feels like this story is playing down the hardships, but as I am not finished with this story yet, you can listen to Candace and my breakdown of our reactions to each episode of season one as we go through it. 

If you want to form your own opinions on this show and see if it’s close to Octavia Butler’s Kindred, maybe listen to these episodes after you’ve watched the eight-episode season on Hulu. Then come back and we can all chat and debrief.

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