The Butterfly's Daughter Hardcover – Large Print, Aug 24 2011
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"Monroe, known for her environmental fiction (The Beach House; Sweetgrass), skillfully incorporates lore about the monarch butterflies into a rich novel about generations and tradition. This book, filled with unusual female characters, is highly recommended for book clubs and readers of women's fiction."
- Library Journal
“In The Butterfly’s Daughter, Mary Alice Monroe gives us a novel that, like the monarch butterfly, has a plentitude of beauty and wonder. Luz Avila is a character we cheer on as she makes her journey from Wisconsin to Mexico and, equally, toward knowledge and forgiveness.”
—Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of Serena --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of Last Light over Carolina and Time Is a River as well as many other acclaimed novels. She received the 2008 Award for Writing from the South Carolina Center for the Book. An active conservationist, she lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina, where she is at work on her next novel. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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She leaves her boyfriend, Sully, behind and the car breaks down. While it is being fixed, she temps at a restaurant, where she meets Ofelia who is pregnant. When Ofelia is beaten by her boyfriend, Luz convinces her to leave and they go on to visit Ofelia's mother where Ofelia and her dog can stay until the baby is born. When they reach the nursery where Ofelia's mother worked and discover she is gone, Ofelia goes into labor and stays with the nursery owner and Luz picks up a new traveler, Margaret, the uptight nursery manager who always had plans to visit the butterfly sanctuary. Their next stop leads them to a camp ground where they meet Stacie, a free spirit who adds to the mix and directs them to Austin and their next stop.Stacie brings her own kind of magic to Luz's self discovery trip. She teaches both Margaret and Luz that they should enjoy life and take it as it comes.
The final step in Luz's journey is when she meets her mother's family and there a startling discovery is made that makes Luz rethink her whole history. The news Luz receives is a life changing event that you need to read about--sorry no spoiler here! Luz does make the trek to the butterfly sanctuary and grows immensely. I just loved the descriptions and how the author related self discovery to the different stages of a butterfly's life cycle. Each chapter starts with a description of the life cycle and you can just imagine how Luz felt with each step of her journey with some remarkable women that she meets along the way, each of them goddesses like the folklore tales she grew up with.
I live on the western coastal trail of the Monarch's migration and they are just starting their trek home. The day I received this book in the mail, I saw my first Monarch of the season. I had such a amazing feeling of hope that only progressed as I read the book. I have some milkweed plants and I will plant more to see if I can get the Monarchs to stay in my yard, but because the route is also a bird migration route, the eggs don't last long here as the birds gobble them up. This is truly an inspiring tale of new beginnings and wonderful way to look at your own surroundings in that you can be reborn like a butterfly.
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.
The story follows a young woman as she discovers her heritage and her own identity. Mary Alice Monroe compares the life of this young woman with the life of the monarch butterfly. The story has real characters to love, hate, and identify with. The story mimics life in such a genuine way. There are highs and lows in the story that bound me to the heroine of the story. Her story could easily be my story.
The Butterfly's Daughter is an easy read. Once you start, it is difficult to put down. You need to find out what happens next. The author has written a beautiful and heart warming story. I give this book 5 stars.
A complimentary copy of The Butterfly's Daughter was provided to me. All opinions expressed in this review are mine alone.