I sing the praises of my local library but sometimes I don’t get things quite when I would like – hence, getting and finishing Kindred slightly after the CBR book club. I am sorry I didn’t get to join the discussion, but I am so happy I finally had the push to read this one.
Lord knows how or why, but I had no idea of what this book was going to be about. The cover doesn’t really do the book justice – this looks like it’s going to be an aunt-friendly story of black Americans in the nineteenth century. You know, sad but not shocking. What I got was SO much better because this is a TIME TRAVEL story.
You see, Dana keeps getting dragged from her fairly comfortable twenty-first-century existence to protect an ancestor she barely knew she had, in 1815. It’s not a friendly time to be a black woman in Maryland and she does her level best to stay alive with the limited resources available to her. I applauded her craftiness and strength, just as I was heartbroken by how easily she was forced to capitulate to the institution of slavery. The book feels pretty timely as we look out now and see how quickly people normalize and accept atrocity in 2018.
I did appreciate that Dana points out to her white husband, there’s not really any place in the past she’d really feel comfortable visiting. Timeless did something similar coming from Rufus (hi, Malcolm Barrett, I see you over there on Preacher) but for us white folk it’s a good reminder of that very harsh truth. We’d do okay whenever we ended up, but that’s because we’ve shaped society in our privilege for a very long time.