Right now, I just finished The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson and hands down, this is one of the best books I've ever read because the author literally paints a beautiful image made of swirls, splotches, and blurred lines. 

You dive into the story in the middle of a tense moment: the FBI hurriedly walking through the halls, shouting questions and orders each other, investigating a fresh case. Young women are kidnapped and taken to a "garden," where they are tattooed wings of butterflies on their backs and taken care of as "butterflies of a garden" by a man, a sociopath. Two specific agents are about to interview a young teenage girl, presumably a victim of the case, and before they do, they observe her, presumably because they don't want to scare her. That's one thing I loved about the form of the book; there are so many observations by the characters. The chapters switch from the time of the interview to the time of the girl's experience and through each chapter, the author devotes so much time to what the FBI agent and the girl observes about their surroundings. The agent picks up on the girl's body language. The girl observed the other kidnapped girls in The Garden. It's interesting to be the outside observer as a reader and find new perspectives of the story through the characters' points of views. 

The characters also each have an elaborate, eye-opening background and story. I genuinely fell in love with each of the characters, from the grumpy FBI agent whom you grow to love, to the poor, lonely girls you are introduced to in each chapter. I won't say more, for that will spoil the plot twists of the story. But, I will say that every character you think you will hate, you grow to understand and even love a little bit. 

The book overall is a very heavy narration because it deals with topics of rape and death. There are unimaginable events, but also feelings a reader may be able to relate to. The feeling of being unwanted. Loneliness. Low self-esteem. The want to make someone proud. This ability to understand these feelings to a certain extent makes you empathize with the characters more and keeps you open-minded. So many of the quotes in the book are also not your straightforward, "deep" quotes. Rather, they twist your mind and perplex you, yet they tug at your heartstrings because somewhere in your heart, you understand what the author is saying.

The way words are put together made me truly rethink the way I am living. For one, I learned how to be a good shoulder to lean on. I've always found this a problem in my life - not knowing how to comfort someone. I wanted to because I appreciate someone comforting me, but I never knew how to return the favor. This book teaches you just as the characters taught each other. I realized that I am constantly living in m settings, but I am not truly in the moment. That's a whole other topic I can delve into but to put it simply - we have become a generation of people who are so unaware of our settings. I learned that people have their own, difficult battles; yours are not more or less significant, but respect that they struggle in life too. 

This all seems vague, what I'm saying, and too rushed and excited for me to type well. But I truly urge you to pick up the book and read it in one sitting (if you can) because it is so intriguing and mind-changing. 

Published by Hannah Lee