Where do I even begin?
I’ve read my fair share of books that scared me, scarred me, haunted me.
But until now, I had never encountered a book that managed to do all of that while also being mesmerizing and surprisingly readable.
This book is a young woman’s (Maya) confession in a police station. All we know at the beginning is that she and many other girls were kidnapped and endured unspeakable horrors at the hands of a man referred to as “The Gardener.” Though reluctant at first to open up to the cops, Maya slowly shares her heartbreaking account of her childhood and life as a prisoner with the other women.
Soon we learn that the gardener tattoos each woman with large butterfly wings (each woman’s unique) on their backs and refers to them as his “butterflies.” As Maya confesses to the cops, the reader is taken with her on the same twisted, terrifying path of discovery as to what being a “butterfly” for the Gardener entails.
We know from the beginning that Maya and other women ultimately escape. The purpose of the story and the impending climax is how Maya eventually became free and why she seems to hesitate at incriminating her captor. As the novel builds up to this, the author develops through Maya’s account the characters of the butterflies and the gardener, giving them a raw humanity that sparks conflicting emotions. It’s not a victim versus villain scenario. It’s a complicated exploration of the dichotomy of the human condition.
This book with scare you, scar you, haunt you. Its superior writing and storytelling are worth every emotion.
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments what you thought!