Book Review: Parable Of The Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Published: 1993

“Fantastic! This was more than a novel, it was an experience.”

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What Is ‘Parable Of The Sower’ About?

In 2025, with the world descending into madness and anarchy, one woman begins a fateful journey toward a better future.
Lauren Olamina is an 18-year-old woman with hyperempathy syndrome — if she sees another in pain, she feels their pain as acutely as if it were real. When her relatively safe neighborhood enclave is destroyed, along with her family and dreams for the future, Lauren grabs a backpack full of supplies and begins a journey north.
Along the way, she recruits fellow refugees to her embryonic faith, Earthseed, the prime tenet of which is that “God is change.” Against a backdrop of horror emerges a message of hope: if we are willing to embrace divine change, we will survive to fulfil our destiny among the stars.

Why Did I Read ‘Parable Of The Sower’?

Ever since reading ‘The Fault In Our Stars‘, I’ve subscribed to and frequently watched videos posted up on the You Tube channel: Vlog Brothers. Among the videos I came across was this one:

After reading Tom Clancy’s – Support and Defend, I was keen to read something more inspiring, so the timing of me watching this felt like fate – not that fate is something I believe in.

What I Liked About ‘Parable Of The Sower’

The novel starts with excerpts from ‘Earthseed’, a book of bible like passages that I initially thought might of been from a different writer or poet, but later on it becomes apparent that these are excerpts from the book our protagonist is writing. It’s a lovely welcoming, which is followed by an opening where she talks about her dreams. I was only five minutes into the first chapter and already I was engaged in a way that told me that I was going to enjoy this story.
From the outset this novel challenges the existence of god in quite a thought provoking way, discussing the preference of god’s treatment dependent on your background and wealth.
This is 23 years old and yet is disturbingly current in its description of a dystopian future, Octavia E. Butler depicts a very realistic and surreal world, but doesn’t focus on the larger cities or the larger population issues at first. She starts with the local communities and neighbourly disputes. A great way to get to know the characters at a personal level whilst being brought into a larger conflict – very subtle and delicate in it’s delivery.
The story concludes by treading on the toes of inventing a religion. Finding truth in what you know to be real and prescribing to a new belief system. “God Is Change”.

What I Didn’t Like About ‘Parable Of The Sower’

I found it very difficult to find flaws in this novel. Any criticism I can think of is petty and desperate, but when pushed I would say that the ending isn’t very climatic – the story merely stops, primed for it’s sequel.

Good Or Bad?

Was this book any good? Yes. Fantastic! This was more than a novel, it was an experience. The last book I read that felt this big was ‘The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman’. It’s also the first of a two-book series. The sequel, ‘Parable of the Talents’, has now been added to my list.
Would I recommend it? Yes, definitely.
Would I read it again? Possibly. This feels like a novel that would offer even more the second time around.

 

Here are some other reviews:
Tom Clancy – Support and Defend by Mark Greaney
Misery by Stephen King
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
On Writing (A Memoir Of The Craft) by Stephen King
The Big Short by Michael Lewis

What’s on the list?
The Lafayette Campaign by Andrew Updegrove
The Hidden Legacy by GJ Minett
Paper Towns by John Green
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler

 

Any suggestions?

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David P. Philip


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