In the Time of the Butterflies was in the half-price bin at Half Price Books. For three dollars I figured, why not?
I was not disappointed. It’s not a particularly challenging read style wise but it is the kind of book that drives your curiosity. The book is a fictionalized version of the four Mirabal sisters who took part in the revolution in the Dominican. They were women who showed great strength standing up against a harsh dictator in spite of the obvious dangers. People across the Dominican were disappearing into prisons, labor camps or worse at the whim of Trujillo. The Mirabal sisters ran guns, made bombs and became a symbol of hope to their fellow countrymen. They were eventually murdered on the side of the road, elevating their status to martyrs.
The book’s author talks about the liberties she has taken with her characters. Even though they were real individuals, she’s combined events in history so this book is definitely not true to life. I honestly don’t think there’s better inspiration for stories than the past though, so I think that’s even better. I don’t want to read a history book to find out about an event. It doesn’t inspire me or capture the way a story does (most of the time). It’s adding a romance or the emotions behind being a political prisoner that draw you in and makes you want to learn more.
The Dominican people refer to the Mirabal sisters as the butterflies. Support for the butterflies is whispered throughout the streets. But by naming the sisters, “butterflies”, were the people taking their beauty and condemning them to a hard, brief life. A life easily crushed?
I would definitely recommend the book. Do not under any circumstances watch the movie. It’s a complete waste of time.