I have the book club pick coming up in July, and I decided to read something that had been on my TBR for a while. So I went with Octavia E. Butler’s The Parable of the Sower. I had read Kindred last year and really liked it, plus I was intrigued by the dystopian aspects of Parable. So it was to my delight and surprise that I found myself really connecting with this novel and pondering many aspects of it.
Lauren Olamina is our protagonist, and as a teenager, she is hiding a secret: she is hyper-empathic, which means that she feels other people’s feelings (including enormous injury and pain) deeply. Her father is a Christian minister, and she lives with her half-siblings and her stepmom. They work together as the world begins collapsing around them. Meanwhile, Lauren begins questioning her own beliefs and writing down what she believes. She finds herself growing more immersed in her own philosophy, which she calls Earthseed. When catastrophe strikes, she finds herself on the road needing to make a new life plan for herself. Lauren’s Earthseed religion grows, just as she finds herself more endangered by a world that does not understand or trust people with special cognitive capabilities.
I’ve left the summary deliberately vague, because this is a novel best unfolded as blindly as possible. I will say that this reminded me in many ways of The Road, but I found this to be more engaging and redemptive than The Road had been. Trust me, there are quite a few crushing things that happen in this book, but I very much cared for Lauren. As a person of faith, I also found myself intrigued with her personal philosophy, especially in examining the similarities between my faith and hers. This is an engaging novel, and I highly recommend reading it.
Cross-posted to my blog.