14 April 2011

The Butterfly House by Marcia Preston

Brief Synopsis
This novel depicted the life of the fictional character Roberta "Bobbie" Lee. The novel goes back and forth between Bobbie in her teens and in her late twenties. Bobbie in her late twenties is attempting to reconcile with her past and some tragic happenings when she was sixteen. Bobbie lived with her alcoholic mother in Stoney River. As trouble occurs between her and her mother, Bobbie turns more and more to her best friend, Cincy, and her mother, Lenora. Bobbie becomes like a daughter to Lenora, a researcher of butterflies. Despite having a close relationship with Cincy, jealousy develops between Cincy and Bobbie over love and maternal affection. One tragic night, the stewing relationship issues bubble to the surface and unfold, resulting in the death of Bobbie's mom and broken relationships. Bobbie hides from the reality of this night until she is forced to face the issue in her late twenties.

Thoughts and Reflections
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The writing style was a treat. Preston uses a gentle and subtle, but beautifully vivid form of descriptive writing. This was a beautifully written story of resilience, love, and family. The story is a heavy one, sad and, at times, overwhelming. However, ultimately it is one of healing. I  never despaired for the characters or found myself depressed by their stories. This story packs a fantastic lesson of resilience. Bobbie, the protagonist, despite a troubled youth, is able to bounce back, to recover from tragedy, and learn to live in the present. This story depicts the long struggle of Bobbie to reconcile with the past in order to embrace the present.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read it in just a few days. I was at first hesitant to read it on account of the mention of childhood trauma. I wasn't keen on a devastating tale of damaged youth. However, I heard some good reviews from fellow readers and decided to give it a go. I was glad to find a hopeful note in the novel, as opposed to the depressing tale I had expected. I would absolutely recommend this book for it's plot and descriptive writing.

About the Author
Marcia Preston grew up in Oklahoma. She earned a degree from the University of Central Oklahoma, going on to work as a public high school teacher. Following more than a decade of teaching, she worked in PR for the National Cowboy and Western Herritage Museum in Oklahoma City. She wrote and edited for Byline magazine. She started writing mystery novels focusing on Oklahoma City, which won her the Oklahoma Book Award in Fiction in 2004. She wrote The Butterfly House in 2005.

Things I Loved About This Novel
1. The characters. Bobbie, Cincy, and Lenora were an interesting combination of personalities.
2. The imagery.
3. The theme of resilience.

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