Title: The Butterfly Garden
Author: Dot Hutchison
Pub Date: June 1, 2016
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“You seem to have this strange image of me as a lost child, like I’ve just been thrown on the side of the road like garbage, or roadkill, but kids like me? We’re not lost. We may be the only ones who never are. We always know exactly where we are and where we can go. And where we can’t.”
‘The Butterfly Garden’ was a very disturbing and often uncomfortable read, but this doesn’t mean that it was not a great read. This book is not for everyone, a lot of triggers. I was engrossed in the book from the page one, it is written beautifully and made it all read so easily. For me, it was just the right kind of uncomfortable book.
Maya and a group of girls are rescued from The Garden – place where she was held captive by The Gardner. She was one of the precious Butterfly that The Gardner took, marked with a butterfly tattoo on the back, used whenever he wanted and kept them in a secluded garden. He is a brutal, twisted man that believes that was he is doing is showing love and care to those girls; he believes that he is a good person. He is obsessed with keeping his ‘butterflies’ beautiful and young – this is why all the girls have an expiry date…
We learn that from Maya, from her stories. She is the only girl that is willing and is capable of talking with FBI after the Garden was discovered. During her story we learn how twisted and horrific this place was, we find out more and more about secrets of the place and his keeper. We also read about the girls and this strange family they were forced to create in those unnatural conditions. All the girls are different but still are bonded by this strange fate – characterization of all the girls makes this story stand out. All the characters are complex and multi-dimensional characters, something I would love to see in such story, and I got it.
Throughout the whole questioning of Maya, we are ‘forced’ to believe that she is keeping a secret, that there is something far-reaching that she is not willing to reveal before the agents. And this part is the one that was the let down for me. At the end of the story, we learn the secret – and it is not something that shocked me, it was a very ‘lame’ secret and a very not unusual reason why she kept it. And at the end we also learn Maya’s actual name – I wished this was some revelation that put together all the pieces of mystery and why Maya was who she was in the Garden. Sadly this is not something that happened; we just learn her name, and that’s it. There is no value to learning that. This it the reason way after finishing the story I was a little bit disappointed and bumped the rating from 5 stars that it was throughout the bigger part of the story to 4 stars.