By Octavia E. Butler
Beacon Press, 1979. 287 pages. Fantasy
In 1976 California, Dana is a regular African-American woman, happily married to her white husband, Kevin. Though some family members have issues with their mixed-race marriage, Dana and Kevin continue on with their life like any other couple. One day, Dana is mysteriously transported from her living room back in time to the antebellum South. There, she rescues a young white boy from drowning, but finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun. Fearing for her own life, she’s mysteriously transported back to her living room and a very confused husband. When this happens repeatedly and for longer periods of time, Dana must learn to survive in a society drastically different from her own, a society where she is viewed as less than human.
This was a fascinating and thought-provoking read. Dana is a strong, smart woman who uses her knowledge of history and modern science to make advantageous decisions in incredibly bleak circumstances. Still, she’s a black woman in the South, and slavery is common practice. Even the boy she repeatedly rescues, the boy who owes her his life, can’t overcome his deeply ingrained prejudice. If you enjoy books that make you ask, what if?, this is definitely something you’ll want to pick up.