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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I could not bring myself to put this book down, which seamlessly combined the genres of science fiction and historical fiction. Traveling with Dana back and forth from California in 1976 to Maryland in 1819 broadened my understanding of slavery and its effects on people. The juxtaposition of the two time periods put the antebellum south in a new context which allowed me as a modern reader to experience the inescapable horrors of slavery during this time in a way I had not thought possible. The main character, Dana’s account of her experiences visiting the past are vivid but stated matter-of-factly, which I found to be an effective way to tell the story. I like that Butler didn’t hedge on her account of the brutality of plantation owners. Dana’s vested interest in helping Rufus, an enslaver, as her ancestor, along with the contrast between herself, a Black woman, versus her white husband, were brilliant tools that served to intensify the sharp contrast in a person’s rights dependent on their skin color during the 1800s in slave states.

Photo by Angela Davis © 2022