Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
Published by Recorded Books on June 16, 2009 (originally published October 1993)
Series: Earthseed, #1
Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, post-apocalyptic
Format & Length: audiobook, 12:05:00
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God is change.
That is the central truth of the Earthseed movement, whose unlikely prophet is 18-year-old Lauren Olamina. The young woman’s diary entries tell the story of her life amid a violent 21st-century hell of walled neighborhoods and drug-crazed pyromaniacs – and reveal her evolving Earthseed philosophy.
Against a backdrop of horror emerges a message of hope: if we are willing to embrace divine change, we will survive to fulfill our destiny among the stars.
Octavia E. Butler’s books have been on the periphery of my radar for some time. It was only fairly recently when I saw her name popping up on my Goodreads feed and various bookish emails that I took some time to look into them. So as I was browsing for a new audiobook and saw the name again, I decided it was time to give one of them a shot and settled in to listen to Parable of the Sower.
“Sometimes writing about a thing makes it easier to stand.”
Told in journal format, this story follows Lauren on the journey of her life in the future America of the 2020’s. The world painted is harsh and bleak, but Lauren has hope for the future that is grounded in the philosophy she has developed called Earthseed. Its fundamental premise: God is Change.
Parable of the Sower fascinated me. I typically favor plot based books that are fast paced; this was not that kind of book and yet it was incredibly compelling. Although the plot was well developed, the characters, their personalities, quirks, and relationships were the focus here. Instead of rushing through to see what happens next, I found myself taking my time to slowly listen to the story a little every day, savoring the experience.
It’s entirely possible I might have felt differently if I hadn’t listened to this on audio. Lynne Thigpen’s narration was truly excellent, breathing life into the words she read. The emotion poured from her voice and pulled me completely in to the story. This is without a doubt one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to in a while.
A young adult dystopian written back in the 1990’s, a part of me wishes I had found Parable of the Sower back when I was a teenager. As much as I enjoyed my experience with it now, I can only imagine the impact it would have had on me then. Recommended, and if you can find it on audio, definitely check it out.