Janet's Reviews > Butterfly's Child

Butterfly's Child by Angela Davis-Gardner
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Jul 05, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: nbd-biblion
Read in July, 2012

This novel is a sequel to Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly. But where the opera is concerned with the dramatic love between Lt. Pinkerton and the Japanese geisha Butterfly, the novel is about Benji, the child of these two lovers. When Benji is a toddler, his mother commits suicide and he is taken away to America to live with his father and stepmother on a farm. After many difficulties Benji settles in but there remain a lot of issues between the three of them. Benji wants to know more about his mother and Japan but has to keep quiet, Frank cannot forget about Butterfly and drinks away his sorrows, and Kate tries to fulfill her Christian duty but struggles with the fact that she has to raise Butterfly's child and regrets her marriage to Frank. All these facts are beautifully and convincingly worked out. After Benji runs away from home, I found the story a bit farfetched but the real surprise at the end made up for that. A moving story about a boy that is lost between two cultures; in America people regard him as Japanese and in Japan people see him as an American. A must for people that are interested in works of historical fiction and have an interest in Japan. You don't have to know anything about the opera to enjoy this novel.
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