Friday, May 6, 2011

Fiction: The Butterfly's Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe

"Two reviews in one day? But that never happens!" [Meaning for me, not other bloggers.] Yeah, well, I'm procrastinating on that mountain of homework I've been ignoring all week due to studying for the AP Euro exam. Now I'm trying to recover from said exam (I can't remember the last time a test made me feel so tired!) by reading and writing a review of the book I just finished. I really can't wait for summer....just five more days. *sigh* Anyway:

The Butterfly's Daughter tells the story of Luz Avila. Twenty-one years old, she lives with her grandmother in Milwaukee. Her mother died when she was five, and she's never met her father. Luz, while she loves her abuela and has a great boyfriend, Sully, isn't completely pleased with her life. She wants to go to college, but she's stuck working in a factory and she's not sure if Sully's the right guy for her. Then Abuela comes up with a harebrained scheme: she and Luz are going to drive to San Antonio in an old beat-up VW Beetle to meet their extended family, then follow the monarch butterflies down to their family's traditional home in Mexico. Luz rejects the spur-of-the-moment plan, but when her grandmother suddenly dies, she decides to embark on the trip, alone, and try to figure out what her grandmother wanted her to do. Along the way, Luz meets a series of quirky, extraordinary women, each of whom will impact her journey of self-discovery.

First off, this is not my type of book. I only skimmed over the blurb when I requested it on GoodReads and missed the part about it being chick lit that's best suited for an older age group than mine. Though Luz is twenty-one, she's more of a mature woman than a college kid, so the plot of the story is really better for grown-up women, not teenagers like me. But Monroe's writing is good, even if the plot's not my thing (and she keeps it appropriate for younger readers, too). The storyline seemed very predictable to me - woman goes on journey of self-discovery, meets quirky characters, comes to new realizations of herself and women and life in general, figures out whether her guy is the right one or not, runs into some kind of conflict but it gets resolved, and goes on to have a happy ending. In this respect, The Butterfly's Daughter is an excellent feel-good read if you're into that sort of novel. For me, it's not my style and, while I enjoyed reading it for the most part, by the end I was getting bored and ready to move on to the next book. My fault, not the book's.

Maturity Factor: Mild profanity, a few very non-explicit adult situations.

My ARC of The Butterfly's Daughter was received through GoodReads' First Look program. Published by Gallery Books, it went on sale May 3, 2011.

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