Parable of the Sower: A Book review

Author: Octavia E. Butler

Published: 1993

Publisher: Four Walls Eight Windows 

Followed by: Parable of TalentsGenre: Religious Science FictionPages: 345

Synopsis: Set in a future where government has all but collapsed, Parable of the Sower centers on a young woman named Lauren Olamina who possesses what Butler dubbed hyperempathy – the ability to feel the perceived pain and other sensations of others – who develops a benign philosophical and religious system during her childhood in the remnants of a gated community in Los Angeles. Civil society has reverted to relative anarchy due to resource scarcity and poverty. When the community’s security is compromised, her home is destroyed and her family murdered. She travels north with some survivors to try to start a community where her religion, called Earthseed, will, hopefully, grow.

When I first read this book, at first I thought it was extraneously slow- I thought the plot was stretched too much in the beginning and with that the character seemed a little self absorbed.

But! That is what makes this story such a wonderful coming of age parable. You can actually see- feel the main character Lauren grow throughout the story, in fact, it made the whole overstretched beginning make more sense and her behavior more tolerable.

I haven’t quite gotten into Butler, she just doesn’t sit right with me for some unexplainable reason. Never the less, I made an exception for this novel.

I love the way Butler projects her characters- both main and sub. Though I would say I was not all the crazy about Lauren’s hyperempathy, I found the psychological disposition both unique and somewhat fascinating, as well as extremely essential in Lauren’s “growing process”. The fact that her hyperempathy made her sympathetic to strangers (despite her friends’ disapproving attitudes) while she and her mates traveled along a highway, which they obviously knew was full of dangerous passersby, was quite beautiful.

Butler’s characters, I would say, are believable in both emotional issues and physical exhaustion during their travels.

Lauren’s religion (Earthseed) is portrayed as ” a little bit of everything” mixed with the human psychology. She lives her life around her own religious beliefs instead of her family’s. Her father was a priest at their local church and Lauren went along with it. Too frightened to tell her father about her own personal beliefs about God, and the fact that she planned to spread her beliefs, made it all the more difficult for her to push forward and introduce her works to even her closest acquaintances and family.

There is a little romance in the book, not too graphic but at the same time a tad bit inappropriate, what with Lauren being eighteen and the man being fifty-seven.

The sub characters in this novel have their own stories and history embedded into the plot line in such a way that you could tell that they too were growing throughout their spectacular journey.

Overall: I would say The Parable of the Sower  was one of the most interesting coming of age Sci-Fi novels I have ever read (despite a few typos- very few typos!).

I would give the plot a three;

The characters a four.

Leave of a comment telling me what you thought of  this book or another that you would consider to have been superior to this one, I gurantee I will read it if you leave me the name of the author and the title of the book( I’m a book freak/horder/ huntress). I would definitely love to have more coming of age novels under my belt . We may even have a fun little debate about the two.

Thank you for reading and have a fantastical day!