Review: The Butterfly’s Daughter
The Butterfly’s Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe
Publisher: Gallery Books
From the cover:
Four 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.
Why is it always so much harder to write a review of a book I enjoy as opposed to writing a review of a book I hate? Normally when I dislike a book, I can go on a crazy rant and tell you all the reasons why I didn’t like it, but when it comes to telling you why I like a book, I just can’t find the words to express it. The Butterfly’s Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe falls in the latter category. After finishing the book, I let it simmer with me for a couple of days before writing the review and I still find it difficult to find the right words to explain to you how much I enjoyed reading it and how touched I was by it.
I love books where the characters go on a cross country adventure and that’s one of the things that attracted me to this book. I love reading about all these areas located in the United States that I’ve never been to and adding them to my list of places to visit. I have to admit, I have a soft spot for road trips. I love going on them and I prefer being cramped up in a car with my closest friends and family than travel by airplane. You learn so much about each other during a road trip. Of course with the way gas prices are headed, my love for road trip is going to have to take a backseat for a while.
In addition to the awesome trip, the characters were well written and easy to relate to. I could see myself in the characters, especially Margaret, the workaholic that finally realizes that perfect timing doesn’t exist and you should just go on the adventure when the opportunity presents itself rather than wait for the perfect moment. There’s a part of the book where Luz ask Margaret why she decided to come along on the adventure, and her response was:
“It wasn’t just one thing, It was more a buildup of things over time. There was a time I had such ambition. I wanted to be top of my class so I could get a scholarship… I worked, worked, worked. I won my scholarship, then a fellowship, and after that I got an internship at the university.”
When I read that, I couldn’t help but think that’s me! My whole life, I’ve being working my little tushy off to get into dental school and now that I’m there, I sometimes wonder ‘now what?’ I had this conversation with my friend the other day, where we asked each other ‘what do you do now, once you’ve reached your life goal [getting into dental school] and you still have the rest of your life ahead of you?’ We haven’t figured out a good response to that question yet, but I guess we have the next
four three years to figure it out.
So this review is turning less into a review and more into my rambling thoughts. See, this is what happens when I try to write a review of a book I really enjoy. This book had everything to make it memorable. It had an entertaining adventure with a great crew of characters who touched your heart and made easy to root for them. The characters took on a transformation similar to that of the monarch butterflies as they travel south and it was wonderful to see them slowly grow out of their comfort zone and discover their true selves.
To put it simply, The Butterfly’s Daughter was a touching and entertaining read that you wouldn’t want to miss.