Michelle's Reviews > Dawn

Dawn by Octavia E. Butler
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's review
Mar 22, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: feminism, post-apocalyptic, rereads, sci-fi, worldview, dtb-own, worst_covers
Read in January, 1992

first read somewhere in 1991 or 2 or 3, 5 stars then, and still amazingly powerful now.

when i first read this at 14 or 15 or so, it was more than a little transgressive. it was sort of about sex, in a way that felt very frank and intimate (voyeuristic?). it's still sort of about sex, but maybe more about permission and choice and alienation (both literal and figurative). 'Dawn' is an uncomfortable book. at its heart, it's about choices that are no choice at all - if you want to live, you must choose to do so under an unlivable compromise of yourself. there are no easy answers, there's only a struggle to do the best you can while not giving away any essential parts of yourself. the main character is intensely real, full of flesh-and-blood energy, deeply relatable though you will never find yourself completely in her situation.

the blurb on the back of my 1980something copy makes it sound more salaciously pulp than it actually is, and my blurb here makes it sound more coldly intellectual than it actually is, so ignore us both. it's a provoking thought experiment that's simultaneously a gripping yarn, well worth snapping up.

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