In the Time of the Butterflies - Julia Alvarez I have completed the book. I am not as enthralled as when I began it. Why? What went wrong? I am only going to give the book three stars.

I am not going to give another synopsis of the book. If that is what you are looking for please see the book description above. I have learned how it might have been to live in the Dominican Republic during the latter half of the 20th Century, mostly under Dictator Trujillo!s reign. The four Mirabel sisters fight against him have today reached mythic proportions. This book is fiction. Neither myth nor fiction give us the true facts. I would have preferred that the epilogue clearly stated what is known and what is imagined.

The author wants to wipe out the mythic status of these women so that we readers can more easily relate to them as four individuals, four different women with different personality traits. Clearly one is portrayed as the rebel rouser, one is religious, one just hasn't the requisite courage and the fourth? Well, she is the youngest and this is evident all throughout the story. Does the author succeed? Do we readers empathize with them? Do we relate to one of the women more than another given our own specific personality traits? I did not empathize with any of them, although I did recognize their differences.


Each chapter title indicates which sister is speaking and the dates when the events in the chapter take place. Thus each chapter should reflect the views of one of the four sisters. You are given her thoughts. You are meant to see the events through her eyes. Something went wrong with this presentation: I frequently had to flip back to check which of the girls was speaking or when the events were occurring.

The bottom line is: I did NOT relate to the girls that well. I actually cringed when I had to get through the religious sister's chapters. Neither do I know if the author has portrayed their personalities correctly. This should have been made clear in the epilogue with detailed entries explaining why she chose to represent each as she has done.

I did enjoy how the author expressed herself, particularly at the beginning of the book. I did enjoy the suspense of the denouement. I think it is admirable that the author wants us to relate to the sisters on a personal level. I believe she wants us to do this so that we too might be encouraged to take a stand against injustice, as they did!


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This is good simply because the lines make me smile. What do you think of these: "The country people around the farm say that until the nail is hit, it don't believe in the hammer." Or: the air was so fragrant that it "smelled like a rose garden wished it could smell." I want a writer to delight me with their ability to express themselves in an imaginative manner. I am on page 76; every couple of pages I hit sentences that I love.

And I didn't know much about the dictator Trujillo of the Dominican Republic. I am learning. This is just my kind of historical fiction in other words!