I love historical Fiction and this book is just another example of why. I learned so much about a time in history that I never knew before, but it was not your typical history lesson---so much more enjoyable. It was a sad story, yet, the book remains hopeful. Please note--the cover is different than the one shown here. Mine is red.
Beautifully written, very sad book. This is a story of 4 sisters growing up in the Dominican Republic under the rule of Trujillo, the dictator. The author wrote this with the help of the surviving sister and other family members. I read this thinking that they weren't that much older than me and, while I was worrying about having a date and what dress to wear, they were planning a revolution! Vivan las Mariposas!!!!!!!
This book is about the atrocities that were endured under Trujillo's dictatorship in the Dominican Republic and about 4 amazing women who stood against him in which 3 died because of doing so. There names were Patria, Minerva, Dede and Maria Terese who are now known as "Las Mariposas" which means The Butterflies.
This little gem of a book would have never crossed my hands if not for the recommendation from a good friend. I never knew about Trujillo and probably never would have. My friend's father was against Trujillo and ended up having to flee to the US until things settled down.
The story is a fictional account of these women's lives starting from their childhood and moving up from there. This brings depth of character to each individual one. They grow up and each one goes in their different way (getting married, going to the university, kids, etc.)but there is one thing they end up having in common... the anger over how Trujillo runs things. These women stand up for what they feel is right. Three of the sisters end up going to jail where they are tortured. When they finally get out the only thing they want now is for their husbands to be out of jail as well.
Even though I really enjoyed this book and I know that it is a fictional account, it just didn't show the sisters as being much of a threat to Trujillo. Throughout the book he seemed to be after the family for doing what a lot of what other families were doing. At the end when the sisters got out of jail it seemed they settled down in hopes their husbands would be let out as well. Still Trujillo saw them as a problem. I did a little more research and found that these sisters never kept quiet. They always said what they thought. Even after getting out of prison, they went right back to their ways. Especially Minerva, who was always a rebel. When Trujillo had them murdered, that was the turning point of the revolution. Many were outraged at what happened to these women. So although I enjoyed the book and would recommend it, I don't think it showed just how strong these women actually were.
"A writer of grace and power" Beautiful novel of sisters growing up in a country of despair. Will draw you into a comfortable place inside yourself from the first chapter. You will want to curl up and keep reading until the very last drop of a word is devoured. These words will stay with you after you are long finished reading--I promise.
An insightful spin on real historical events. A great read for lovers of historical fiction or feminine heroism. Julia Alvarez paints a colorful and sorrowful picture of the lives of four women growing up in the Domincan Republic under a terrible, oppressive dictator.
Wonderful book about four sisters growing up in the Dominican Republic during the reign of the dictator Trujillo. They grow from young girls to revolutionaries to heroes to martyrs during the course of the novel.
I didn't want to put this book down! Usually politics turns me off in a book, but in this case the emphasis is more on the impact politics have on our day-to-day lives. It's also a window into how ordinary people get mixed up in the political game. It's about courage - not just the courage of the sisters, but the courage that is required of everyone in a free society, and the consequences when we fail.
Ashleah Y. reviewed In the Time of the Butterflies on
Helpful Score: 1
I absolutely loved this book. I read it for a Political Writings by Women class, but it was wonderfully written and it draws the reader in. It is about the Mirabal sisters who, in their own ways, helped in the Dominican revolution .
Amazing story of the Dominican sisters who stood up for their rights and beliefs! I think this book is great for women history as well as learning about the Dominican culture! I absolutely loved this book. There is also a movie that followed the book, so it's great to compare the book and the movie!
INCREDIBLE...an amazing page-turner on the lives of four sisters in the Dominican Republic who struggle against their violent, ruthless dictator. This book puts you there and let's you see and feel how it all plays out...you won't regret this read.
*One bit of advice - read it in English. I've read both English and Spanish versions but as it was originally written in English, that version retains much of the original flavor that is somewhat lost in translation.
This is undoubtedly one of my favorite books. I love reading books by Latino/a authors, and I was not disappointed by Julia Alvarez's style of writing and ability to create a page turner. I have read this book at least two times. I really enjoyed reading the perspective of each of the Mirabal sisters. Each chapter is in the voice of one of Las Mariposas, helping the reader learn each of their stories during a time of Trujillo's dictatorship in the Dominican Republic and the despair and heartache each of them faced. There is also a movie about the book, with Salma Hayek, and it does a decent job of portraying the story.
This book was a wonderful look at how a totalitarian government comes in and takes over, but yet shows the courage of those who are willing to fight. A wonderful book about courage and the power of fighting for what you know is right.
A sad and true story about three brave young ladies trying to help overthrow the dictatorship in their country. Each girl tries to aid the opposition in her own way and capacity. The events recounted were so despicable and heinous that I could not believe humans could be capable of such horror. I believe there was a movie made from this book starring Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez's husband. But I have not seen it. It is well written and so very tragic. Made me so thankful I live in America. You will certainly cry as I did.
It is a fictionalized memoir about the Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic and the several sisters (the Butterflies) who defied him. For another side you should read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. Alvarezs work is referenced at least twice in his book. Butterflies is by far the best book (read it first), but there are some interesting parallels. If you read Oscar Wao, it is replete with street-level Spanish, and there are numerous colloquialisms in his native tongue. Keep a Spanish-English dictionary handy, or go to the Internet at www.annotated-oscar-wao.com. Also, as Cole Porter tells us to brush up your Shakespeare, you should brush up your Sci-Fi genre all the way back to Edgar Rice Burroughs as the protagonist is a nerdy, trekki, kind of a game-playing, bookish misfit.
Although the Mirabel sisters were real during the Trujillo dictatorship of the Dominican, this book is written in a fictional voice for each of the 4 sisters. The author did an amazing job creating a tale for each of the sisters in a perspective of what their lives MAY have been like, but were not truly how it was. The stories were believable regardless, and I will say that I don't know anything about what they were like at all, so if you actually know the true history of them, perhaps you won't enjoy this story at all. One of my sisters-in-law told me she enjoyed this story and suggested I read it. It was good and definitely made me feel the emotions of each of the girls/women.
Dede is the one who survived. She gives a perspective of being the second born Mirabel sister who remembers what her sisters were like before they died and what he life has been like constantly being asked about them and why she was not with them when they were murdered. She starts off the whole story set in 1994 and looks back on her childhood.
The perspective then changes throughout the story with the eldest Patria, who is the relgious one who just wants to be a good wife and mother but sees that fighting for justice with her sisters in seeing Trujillo's reign come to an end.
Minerva, the third born has the most strength and is the one who gets changed drastically first and longs to be educated further than anyone in her family. She loves to talk politics with many and is willing to train and go into the mountains if she has to. She is not as interested in becoming a wife or mother. She is the one who tries to influence her sisters best she can.
Then there is Maria Teresa, the baby who has a slight age gap compared to the rest of her sisters. She wears her hair in braids all her life and has her eyes opened little by little until she is full fledged attached to Minerva with her outspokenness. She perhaps suffers the greatest difficulties but finds strength. She cannot give up.
Not only does this story really tell about what these women could have endured, but it shows what life was like for the people in that time as well as how men acted and why these women were adored and looked up to by others and hated by leaders of the country. They were known as "butterflies" by those who admired them.
The story is heartwrenching. After getting about halfway through, negative events began to happen, and I had to put the book down for a while. There was such a palpable sense of dread hanging over the characters, and knowing the ending didn't help either.
A great deal of the power this book had over me was in evoking other, better-wrought works, such as those written by Diaz, Allende, and Garcia Marquez. I don't think it would have had quite the same effect on me if I hadn't read those books before, because much of the writing was simple and formulaic and the sisters as characters were broadly painted with romantic strokes.