Diana Welsch's Reviews > In the Time of the Butterflies

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
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Feb 07, 10

Read in December, 2008

The Chicano studies minor in me sees books like this and just can't resist. The premise of this book is made even more fascinating by the fact that it is based on true events. The Mirabal sisters, all beautiful, classy ladies from a well-to-do Catholic family, boldly opposed their country's brutal regime, and paid for it with their lives.

The hot and sexy Mirabel sisters

The story takes place in the Dominican Republic in the 1960s. General Rafael Trujillo ("El Jefe") is in complete control of the country and imprisons or kills all that oppose him.

Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa are all active in the revolutionary movement. After a visit to their husbands in prison, their wrecked Jeep was found at the bottom of a cliff, the lifeless bodies of the three sisters and their driver inside.

It was no accident.

A fourth sister, Dede, more practical and less fiery, did not make the trip and survives to tell their story.

This book switches between the first-person persepectives of the three sisters and third-person, present day life of the surviving sister.

The book chronicles the girls' lives from their childhoods and their first involvements in the insurgency, their prison time, and finally their deaths. It gives equal weight to their personal lives and their political actions, which humanizes, rather than deifies them. They may be running guns for the revolution, but they also need to get their kids into bed on time.

This was not a life-changing book that demands five stars, but it was a gripping and fascinating book about a time and place that I know too little about.
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