All her life, Lauren Olamina has been lucky to live in a gated community. Even though her family still struggles to get enough food and leaves the neighborhood only in groups, at least they’re not homeless on the desecrated streets of Los Angeles, where desperate refugees and vicious, drug-crazed pyromaniacs wreak havoc. Lauren’s father, the neighborhood minister, leads his people with strength and calm, organizing patrols, food stores, and teaching self-defense. But Lauren feels a growing sense of unrest, knowing that America will never return to the past her parents remember.
Lauren suffers from hyperempathy, forced to share the emotions (usually pain) of anyone in her proximity. The condition has made her cautious and reserved. But despite this, and her youth, Lauren is driven, grounded, and self-assured. She knows her destiny is to spread the gospel of Earthseed, a religion that speaks truth down to her bones. When anarchy finally breaches her neighborhood walls, Lauren is as prepared as anyone can be, and shares her survival skills, unflinching pragmatism, and loyalty with the few survivors, who will become her first disciples.
Written as a series of diary entries, Parable of the Sower is an unusual, welcome variant on the dystopian novel. Butler’s world is vivid, and Lauren’s steely fortitude bores through every page.
The 213 in 2013 series chronicles every book I read in 2013. Each review contains exactly 213 words, because 2013 words is too long and 2013 characters is too dang short.
One year ago today: Making Schools Work