Helen's Reviews > Parable of the Talents

Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler
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really liked it
bookshelves: competent-female-characters, diversity, feminist, reviewed, sci-fi, dystopia

Brilliant and disturbing, this is a far too realistic look at what the future could be.

In the first book, Parable of the Sower, the American economy had broken down, the climate was heating up and oil was running out. People were competing for the basic necessaties of survival and the police were corrupt and unreliable. Anarchy ruled and everyone lived in danger of gangs taking everything they have.

Despite all this chaos Lauren Olamina managed to create a community, a band of people working together to protect themselves and build a safe and suistanable life.

Parable of the Talents with things getting better. Lauren's community, Acorn, is starting to grow and expand. But Andrew Jarret, a fundamental Christian, is running for president. He blames the countries problems on the lack of true Christian religion and encourages his followers to persecute and murder those of other faiths.

Lauren's community is built around a religion she has started called Earthseed and it soon comes under attack from Jarret's followers.

I didn't like the strong religious tone running through the book. Lauren is trying to start up a new religion to stop people fighting and tearing each other down and to convince them to start up communities and work together to create a world where everyone supports each other. The way she starts out trying to create communities does seem sensible, but she seems to become more and more of just a preacher throughout the book and by the end it starts to feel like she is setting up a cult.

To be fair the book does a good job of not presenting Lauren as perfect, it shows her faults as much as it shows the good things she is doing. She manipulates people, and is well aware of doing it. Nothing is more improtant to her than spreading the word of Earthseed.

What I did like is the way it shows that when people treat each other as equals, work together and educate each other then they can not only survive but they can build something better.

A lot of it was very hard to read, I had to keep putting it down and switch to a different book for a while. The men that attack Lauren's community belive that women should be silent and don't allow them to speak. They treat the women like they are worthless, work them to the bone and sexually assault them at night. They are hypocrites that think they need to reeducate anyone that is not a "good christian".

In the context of the current climate it is even more scary. Jarrett is very similar to Trump, with his habit of blaming all the countries complex problems on anyone that doesn't meet the mould of white christian male. Jarrett's slogan is "make America great again". Women are treated as chattels and expected to be pure and not tempt the men.

Parable of the Talents is a frightening look at what the future could be. It does not make for pleasant reading but it is compelling and I wish that more people would read it. It's a warning but hopefully not a prediction.
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Reading Progress

April 12, 2017 – Shelved
April 12, 2017 – Shelved as: own-and-need-to-read
November 2, 2017 – Started Reading
November 2, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
November 4, 2017 –
44.0%
November 5, 2017 –
60.0% "This is so harrowing that I can only read a bit of it at a time."
November 7, 2017 –
90.0%
November 7, 2017 – Finished Reading
November 16, 2017 – Shelved as: competent-female-characters
November 16, 2017 – Shelved as: diversity
November 16, 2017 – Shelved as: feminist
November 16, 2017 – Shelved as: reviewed
November 16, 2017 – Shelved as: sci-fi
November 16, 2017 – Shelved as: dystopia

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