Tuesday, May 3, 2011
The Butterfly’s Daughter- Mary Alice Monroe
our very different women embark on a transformational journey that follows the migrating monarchs across the United States to Mexico. The story begins when Luz Avila's grandmother, the local butterfly lady, purchases an old, orange VW bug for a road trip home to Mexico. When she unexpectedly dies, Luz is inspired to take her grandmother's ashes home. In the manner of the Aztec myth of the goddess who brings light to the world, Luz attracts a collection of lost women, each seeking change in their lives. The Mexican people believe the monarchs are the spirits of the recently departed and Luz taps into ancient rituals and myths as she follows the spectacular, glittering river of orange monarchs in the sky to home.
Finally, I have found the perfect introduction to Mary Alice Monroe’s narration style and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have heard a lot about the author through the reviews of several other book bloggers and I have always wanted to have the same awestruck experience that they have while reading her books. While the story line was a bit predictable, The Butterfly’s Daughter struck me from the get go and kept me interest throughout the entire story. It is truly a beautifully constructed coming of age story told through the analogy of the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly.
Monroe is known to produce novels that are environmentally conscious and she delivers yet again by paying tribute to the Monarch Butterflies. Not only does the reader appreciate their sheer beauty but they also get an insight into their resilience, expert navigational skills and their sense of home that leads them on their perilous journey during the winter. I also loved the detail paid to Mexican culture. You can almost smell the tamales and envision the bright coloured kitchens in which they were cooked.
With characters such as Luz, Ofelia and Mariposa, there was much to feel happy and also to cry about. My heart went out to Mariposa as I found her story to be very emotional and realistic. It was touching reading about her mood swings and her obsession with seeking forgiveness and approval from her family. It was an emotional roller coaster but I was glad to have run this course with her.
Honestly I could have done without the ‘road trip’ but after completing the book, I understand the importance of it to the story. Although Esperanza raised Luz to be a strong minded, logical young woman, she really matures in front of the reader on her journey. On her journey she meets several young women from various backgrounds, each having their own characteristics and each time she learns something new about herself. As the story progressed, this new strength of character proves quite useful to Luz.
Now that I am more familiar with Monroe’s work, you can expect me to be reading more of her work.
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