Jeanette "Astute Crabbist"'s Reviews > In the Time of the Butterflies

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
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's review
Aug 08, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: four-star-fiction, caribbean, all-fiction, historical-fiction
Recommended to Jeanette by: Book Lust, by Nancy Pearl
Read in August, 2008

This is a fictionalized account of the lives of the four Mirabal sisters, Patria, Dede, Minerva, and Maria Teresa. They grew up in the Dominican Republic during the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Trujillo ruled brutally for thirty-one years, merciless and drunk on power. It disgusts me how these vain, arrogant little men like Hitler and Trujillo can wield so much power and do so much damage.

The book alternates among the "voices" of the four sisters. The first part of the book tells about their growing up years, convent school, college and/or early marriages. This part is a little more slow moving, but interesting.

The second part of the book tells about their participation with their husbands in the revolution intended to overthrow Trujillo, and the subsequent imprisonment of all but Dede. After their release from prison, they made weekly trips to visit their husbands, who were still imprisoned. Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa were murdered by the Trujillo regime on November 25, 1960 while on their way home from one of these visits. This part of the story is true. The Mirabal sisters, "Las Mariposas," were real, and they were revered by their people for their bravery and martyrdom. November 25 is now observed in many Latin American countries as the International Day Against Violence Towards Women.

The author and her family fled the Trujillo regime when she was ten years old, several months before Las Mariposas were murdered. Her father had also been a revolutionary and had to escape before being found out. Her personal knowledge of the life and culture of the Dominican Republic gives this story a nice colorful authenticity.
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