Leah Bayer's Reviews > The Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison
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did not like it
bookshelves: idiot-heroine, reading-regrets

** spoiler alert ** This is the stupidest goddamn book. If you can suspend every inch of disbelief in your body and go into The Butterfly Garden accepting that it's in some kind of alternate fantasy world where women lack free will of any kind then maybe it's an okay book. Let's take a brief quiz to see how you'd do!

You wake up in a garden prison constructed by a madman who kidnapped you and is going to kill you on your 21st birthday. Do you (a) try to escape or (b) passively accept your fate and go make ~best friends~ with your fellow captives.

You realize that your captor is middle-aged, never brings any weapons into the Garden, and is outnumbered 21 to 1 by young, strong women. Do you (a) organize the girls and fight back or (b) throw tea parties and perform plays for him.

Your captor provides you with tools that could be used as weapons--scissors and sculpting tools. Do you (a) attack him with them or (b) use them for your super cute embroidery.

You are a Butterfly who has escaped from the Garden. Do you (a) immediately go to the police and free your fellow Butterflies from rape, torture, and certain death or (b) just go back to your normal-ass life.

You are the Gardener. Your son is a deranged psychopath. You are convinced you "love" your Butterflies and never want to hurt them. Your son wants to torture them to death, and you do not approve of this. Do you (a) prevent him from visiting your Garden or (b) build him a fucking torture playroom.

Your husband builds a giant fucking greenhouse in your backyard, is gone for several hours a day doing god knows what in there, seems to need an endless supply of formaldehyde and resin, and is obviously cheating on you. Do you (a) get the fuck into this mystery garden and find out wtf is going on or (b) just ignore it and live your stupid rich life.

You are a nice, normal kid. Your brother is a psychopath. You find out that your dad is kidnapping, raping, torturing and murdering very young girls, and your brother is in on it. Do you (a) go to the police immediately or (b) preserve your family name and just chill with these poor victims like it's a giant sleepover.

You are a girl in the garden. The Gardener's nice, normal son somehow gets into your prison. Do you (a) immediately tell him what is happening and beg for help or (b) willingly sleep with him and then play some sweet piano tunes together.

You're a detective who has been tipped off to kidnapped girls possibly being in a strange, giant greenhouse on some secretive rich dude's property. Do you (a) do everything you can to investigate this or (b) look around for 5 minutes, shrug, and give up.

If you picked (a) then congratulations, you're a real human! If you picked even one (b) you might want to consider that you are possibly a character in this stupid-ass book who has the intelligence of a concussed donkey.

Seriously, literally everything in this book is stupid. Nothing makes sense. Not ONE GIRL out of OVER A HUNDRED ever tried to fight back against the Gardener. Not. One. Girl. They all, like, get Stockholm Syndrome in 2 fucking days?? They're so stupid not one of them tries to do anything about their situation? It makes literally no sense.

The characters are thinly constructed and tropey. The plot is full of so many holes it's practically swiss cheese. The "twist" actually made me laugh out loud it's so bad. It's going for shock value but ends up being a stupid head-stratcher instead of an "oh my god I can't believe the author came up with something this twisted!!!!" type scenario that they obviously want. It's not disturbing. It's not upsetting. It's fucking stupid and I really, really hated it. Just why.

[arc provided by netgalley in exchange for an honest review]
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Reading Progress

June 13, 2016 – Shelved
June 13, 2016 – Shelved as: netgalley
June 22, 2016 – Started Reading
June 23, 2016 –
74.0%
June 23, 2016 – Shelved as: idiot-heroine
June 23, 2016 – Shelved as: reading-regrets
June 23, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 226 (226 new)


message 1: by Jane (new)

Jane This book sounds so stupid, I'm angry I even know it exists. Haha. I was entertained by your clever way of dismantling this book though ;)


message 2: by Hendrik (new)

Hendrik Somehow I'm tempted to read it myself :D


Sara Careful Hendrik! I gave in to the temptation after reading a similarly entertaining review! Don't make my mistake I will never get back those three hours!!!! NEVER I TELL YOU!!!!

Hilarious, perfect write up Leah!


message 4: by Leah (new) - rated it 1 star

Leah Bayer Lucille wrote: "::high five:: Be forewarned, there will be retribution from the crazed Dotbots screeching about fairness and calling you a Goodreads famewhore."

Crazed Dotbots?? That sounds a little frightening...

Sara wrote: "Careful Hendrik! I gave in to the temptation after reading a similarly entertaining review! Don't make my mistake I will never get back those three hours!!!! NEVER I TELL YOU!!!!

Hilarious, perfec..."


Thank you so much!

Hendrik wrote: "Somehow I'm tempted to read it myself :D"

Don't do it! You may think it will be a fun hate-read but this book will suck out your will to live.

Jane wrote: "This book sounds so stupid, I'm angry I even know it exists. Haha. I was entertained by your clever way of dismantling this book though ;)"

Thanks! It's definitely an anger-inducing read...


Tapas Agarwal I don't understand the love for this book. You sum it up perfectly.


Trina Love your review. Hilarious and dead on.


John Rodriguez Best most accurate account of why this book has me hugging trees. Poor poor innocent trees, what have they ever done to deserve such torturous transformations...


Melissa Hilarious. I love your opening sentence.


Jakki Newton I AGREE with everything you say here.


Charlene Roberson BEST. COMMENTS. EVER.


message 11: by Leah (new) - rated it 1 star

Leah Bayer Thank you all for the lovely comments <3


Ktkorpinenicloud.com I am so glad to read this - not for me. Thanks!


message 13: by Laura (new) - rated it 1 star

Laura Trierweiler Bahahah! I was wondering the entire time- why are they not attacking him? There are so many of them and so little of him?!!?


message 14: by Becky (new) - rated it 1 star

Becky This is the best review, and I love that you have a shelf called idiot-heroine!


message 15: by Beth (new) - added it

Beth Thank you, thank you for this review.


Parisha Doyle This author could have had a great book. The concept was there. what got me was the let me just spend my last days with my girls.... whatever. I was quite dissapointed.


Blackkit10 Lol, love it, you summed it up perfectly. Ridiculous story.


J. Ann Rollo This review is perfect. I would much rather have read your review over and over for three hours, than that dreadful novel.


message 19: by Christie (new)

Christie Forgive my language, please, but what the bloody heck kind of book is this? There is something seriously wrong with whoever wrote it. I had heard of it but had no idea what it was about...so glad I never tried to read it! Thank you for your thorough, common-sense review. Wow.


message 20: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Thank you for sparing me from reading this book. I just finished with "Into the Light" by Aleatha Romig which also had me screaming at the female characters nonstop and left me seething after reading it. I really don't want to go through that again.

I'm going to peruse your ratings and see if there are any decent mysteries or anything that are cheap downloads right now. It sounds like we have similar sensibilities. :)


message 21: by Jodi (new) - rated it 1 star

Jodi i agree. worst book ever


message 22: by Kellie (new)

Kellie thank you for this review, I will now be taking it off my want to read shelf.


Bonnie I think I got this book pretty cheap and since it was Halloween I figured, what the hell. it made me think of Silence of the Lambs. I just finished it and liked it but your review is great, actually. I was a bit confused at the end about Sophia and all that so I had to reread that part a few times.


message 24: by Vic (new) - rated it 3 stars

Vic Vijayakumar I read this book and thought huh, there are some issues with this, how are people giving it 4+ stars? But until I read your review I couldn't put my finger on all the things that bothered me.


message 25: by Leona (new) - rated it 1 star

Leona Thanks, Leah. I just finished this book and couldn't quite figure out exactly why I think I just wasted several hours I'll never get back. You summed it up perfectly. I really hate it when an author asks me to suspend all common sense in order to go along with their story. So much of it made no sense whatsoever. Thanks again for a wonderfully honest review.


Alexander Rose "you are possibly a character in this stupid-ass book who has the intelligence of a concussed donkey. " Mercy.


Shirley Thank you! I can't figure out how this book is on the Goodreads best of the year lists. Are you kidding me? This is so absurd and a completely ridiculous story.


Yuthika Hilarious review. I'm reading this book just because of this!


Quinnharley Love the review and completely agree with you!


Parisa Bookworm Totally agree!


Salim Hassouneh 100% agree


message 32: by Tracy (last edited Feb 15, 2017 03:32AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tracy Lololol... this review is great. I literally just finished and was thinking what the ever loving fuck????!! I've been saying for two days to my mom " this book is so fucked up" . " yet you're still reading it" she says. ...scratching my head. Well, it was free anyways. It wasn't horribly written but I'd agree this goes beyond suspending disbelief. Idiot heroines indeed. Just ??


message 33: by Lo (new)

Lo I loved your review and it saved me from reading this. I have to say one thing, though... Stockholm syndrome is not a form of stupidity.

Intense trauma causes normal humans to experience a kind of shift in the brain. The behavior of traumatized people often seems inexplicable to those who haven't experienced it or learned about trauma. They often leap to the conclusion that trauma victims are lying about their thoughts and feelings, or even fabricating the traumatic events. They assume that the person must be stupid, evil, enjoys suffering, etc to do things like stay in an abusive situation. These assumptions are not just incorrect, they are dangerous and cause serious harm to the victims of trauma. People with PTSD who commit suicide are often led there by societal misunderstanding, not the original trauma.

I say these things because they all happened to me. I spent a decade longer than I needed to suffering from untreated ptsd and nearly died more than once, all because I listened to the well-meaning but ignorant advice of friends, family, strangers, and professional therapists. I'm lucky to be alive.

I'm not at all defending the book. Portraying trauma survivors as weak and/or showing them never make any effort to change their situation is insulting and at times borders on glorifying abusive dynamics. There is a lot of fiction right now that idealizes abusive relationships, especially books aimed at teen girls, and that frightens me.

You're fighting on the right side, and I appreciate that. It's just an auto response for me that I throw out "doing inexplicable things because of trauma is not stupidity," because the more individual people understand that and stop saying it, the safer my path will be for the little girls who unfortunately will follow.

Thanks for your review, and take care!


message 34: by Midas68 (new)

Midas68 The first review I read sounded like it was sexist towards men, then a review made it seem sexist towards women and your review shows it's bigoted towards humanity in general.

Not sure why people love books with these glaring errors in human judgement, maybe that's exactly what it is , Glaring errors in Human Judgement. I've read my share of books that were supposed to be seriously good yet were populated by actors who seemed to have the common sense of The Three Stooges.

Thanks for letting me know this highly rated goodreads book of the year(Horror Genre) should be voided like a rotted chicken chow mein.


Parisa Bookworm Midas68 wrote: "The first review I read sounded like it was sexist towards men, then a review made it seem sexist towards women and your review shows it's bigoted towards humanity in general.

Not sure why people ..."


I can't believe it got the second highest votes on goodreads choice award for horror genre!!
What's wrong with people these days?!!


Adam Weisman Plagiarism from the Stig Larsen trilogy, the girl with the dragon tattoo.


Jackie Lee This review is hilarious. Love it.


message 38: by Midas68 (new)

Midas68 Jackie wrote: "This review is hilarious. Love it."

Yeah it starts out great and just goes from there.

"This is the stupidest goddamn book"


courtney puidk Great review. Haha


message 40: by Zinge (new)

Zinge Perfect review. And to think this mess nearly won Goodreads' Horror Book of the Year.


message 41: by Midas68 (new)

Midas68 Zinjah wrote: "Perfect review. And to think this mess nearly won Goodreads' Horror Book of the Year."

Yeah the only way I can see that this book being as high up on the goodreads list as it is, Is if this reviewer was actually reviewing another book and clicked the wrong book to post a review.

Otherwise there is no way I can see this as being anything but a dumb book award winner whose only fans are those who not only love to escape reality but want nothing at all to do with it.


message 42: by Amy (new)

Amy Cheers I was nearly going to read this until I read your review, but I hate "stupid-ass" people....


message 43: by Erin (new) - rated it 1 star

Erin Copping I just finished this book and came to read reviews and this one really hits the nail exactly on the head!


Amanda || eastofreaden I had rated this book pretty high but now that I read your review ... I've realized how many awful plot holes I missed. I'm going to adjust my rating for sure, thank you.


Bridgette BiPoLar hahaha I was going to write a review about how stupid these girls were, but you have said everything and more of how I felt about this book. I don't see how anyone likes this trash.

It took me forever to finish this book because I kept throwing it across the room and happily losing it.


message 46: by Nika (new) - rated it 2 stars

Nika YES THANK YOU


Katie Talbott Love this review... Hysterical! Much better read than the book!


Tania Villalta hahahaha hadnt seen it this way (i loved the book) but made me laugh


Michelle I get that looking from the outside, a lot of these things seem straightforward: get together, make a plan, fight to get free. Question your creepy family members' behaviour. Unfortunately in this case, truth is just as strange as fiction: too many cases to name show captives unwilling to ask for help even when close to freedom (eg Jaycee-Lee Dugard on the UC Berkeley campus), complicit family members, and kidnap victims consistently afraid to escape (eg Ariel Castro had "tested" his kidnap victims by leaving an inner door unlocked then beaten them if they tried to escape).


message 50: by PirateSteve (new)

PirateSteve I do enjoy an impassioned review.


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