It’s 2025 where Lauren Olamina’s journals begin to show The United States devolving into chaos and reactivity. Resources are scarce, and the government is not helping with any sense of security. Lauren’s family unit is still strong, and her father places an emphasis on self-reliance and community. Lauren’s worried for her future, and motivated by her worry she spends much of her time creating survival packs, seed banks, and reading as many books as she can get her hands on.
Needless to say, Lauren’s coming of age story is very complicated, as her world is thrust into survival mode. I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure, despite the devastating scenes throughout. This book is a hard read. There is so much death and destruction throughout the pages. One of the particularly hard but fascinating elements of this book is referred to as “sharing”. Sharers are born from people who used a prescription drug called paracetico (or something along those lines!) and one of the side effects was passing a hyperempathy snydrome to their children. When Lauren sees someone in pain, she doesn’t just witness their pain, she experiences it. This comes up time and time again as a centerpoint challenge for Lauren, but also a means of connecting with others that she employs to her benefit.
I loved the themes of community running throughout the book. Lauren values people and their diverse skill set. Because of her value, she finds many people who have similar desires for love and belonging, and she is able to build and expand her community to find shared ideals. She maintains hope when I would expect to find none, and I appreciate how despite all the hardship that runs throughout her story, Butler makes sure to weave in a sense of resiliency and hope.