Mary Alice Monroe
Although I have finished The Butterfly's Daughter by MARY ALICE MONROE, I will never forget this novel. When I began the novel, I did not know my heart would become intertwined not only with the characters but also with the monarch butterflies' travels. Their journey is long and hazardous. Thankfully, each chapter starts with a heading about the butterflies. Mary Alice Monroe has chosen the most scintillating facts about the butterflies for people like me who are scientifically challenged. Those chapter headings always seemed to relate to the lives of the character: Abuela, Luz, Margaret, Stacie, Mariposa, Sully, Ofelia and even Serena, the chihuahua are on an "epic journey" of metamorphisis like the monarch butterflies. The monarchs have their powerful wings for travel and Luz has her Abuela's El Toro. El Toro is an orange VW. It is picked by Abuela, Luz's grandma. Abuela wants to go back home to the mountains of Mexico with Luz. She wants to take the time to share with Luz the many thoughts in her heart. The problem is can this beaten up orange thing on wheels take them that far.
Luz takes off in El Toro never realizing it would become a wild adventure. Really, no day is the same. No day is the same for the monarch butterflies either. As they travel, a monarch butterfly can become too cold, too hot, tattered and torn. Life is tough not just for humans but also, for these creatures who go through so many stages before becoming a beautiful butterfly. In Tia Maria's house there are aquariums where the caterpillar goes from one stage to the next stage.
I am glad Mary Alice Monroe chose to write about the monarch butterflies. Their life is like my life. I have constantly gone through changes just by living through infancy, the toddler stage, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age and onward. At each stage I have needed to come to grips with a new me. However, now I can think of the monarch. When I am tired from struggling to understand each stage, I can know that somewhere along the way there is a beautiful spiritual me being born. So I really related to Luz as she cried, forgave, laughed, loved and remembered.
"Luz sat in a window seat of the crowded plane and gazed out as she traveled north. It had been a tumultuous season of new relationships and goodbyes."
This is a bittersweet novel. I did not like how all the situations were handled in Luz's life. I did not like all the people. I almost despised Mariposa for something she did up in the mountains of Mexico with the ofrenda made by Luz and her friends. I was afraid that Mary Alice Monroe would just sweep it under the rug by making it just a little misunderstanding between Mariposa and Luz. To my satisfaction the author made the scenes very real. Luz acted just the way I would have acted if Mariposa had done what she did to me. Mariposa has been through many hells in her life. So, she's rough around the edges. Often, her actions seem very selfish. While learning about her and watching how she acted and had acted in life, I realized it is really hard to forgive people. However, life is a circle that must become complete before I can feel complete. Plus, I can never throw away family. Our ancestors, our roots, are what makes me feel more than just a shadow on this earth. My family gives me purpose. So, it is important to work through the rough spots.
I can only end by writing that THE BUTTERFLY'S DAUGHTER is ripe with meaning and very poignant. I do have one new goal for my life's list. I would like to travel to the mountains of Mexico to see the sky "explode in orange glitter" with monarch butterflies.