Where Butterflies Wander, a review by Shelley

posted in: Shelley | 0

Suzanne Redfearn

Lake Union Publishing
February 6th, 2024
303 Pages

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I really wanted to like this book but I had a tough time connecting to the characters and I found too many unbelievable things throughout. Let’s start with the characters. The first thing that irked me was how mature the children seemed. They are eight, twelve and fifteen and they spoke and thought like adults. I can accept that a twelve-year-old and fifteen-year-old are “adult-like” in some ways but when I read the first inner thoughts of eight-year-old Pen the book lost me. Below you will find an example…

I hear the river through the trees and know its close. It sounds wide and lazy, not concerned in the least, as truly powerful things often are. As I walk, I collect leaves and berries to show Dad. Ive also found what I think is a mushroom. Its the size of my hand and was growing from the side of one of the trees. Its not pretty like the sort of mushrooms we buy in the store with round umbrella tops and stems, but rather malformed and dark, like a chunk of burned charcoal. It smells a little like wet dirt, but Im hoping its actually something wonderful that Dad, Hannah, and I can cook with.

Malformed? An eight-year-old calls a mushroom malformed? I am sorry but that was the first straw. Now, if that was the only case of this little girl talking and/or thinking like that I could let it pass but it went on and on that way throughout the book. Please do not come at me, I know the kids went through a lot and had to grow up pretty fast because of their circumstances but I have lots of experience with children, one of which has a genius IQ and the other is borderline. My boys were both smarter than me growing up but never ever would they have used the word malformed, at eight years old or otherwise. (Rant over)

I get why this has such a high rating, it’s gut-punchingly emotional, the writing style is easy to read and the story is interesting and unique. I just couldn’t take chapter after chapter of children sounding like adults. It ruined the enjoyment of the book for me because when reading emotional family dramas like this the first thing I expect as a reader is realistic, especially when it comes to internal thoughts and dialogue. I get that writing children is hard, that’s why I appreciate so much when it is done right.

The other character issue I had with the story was the mother, Marie. She is going through the worse thing a parent could possibly imagine and she was a total bitch. I felt no sympathy for her whatsoever. And the son, Brendon was such a spoilt brat I wanted to throat-punch him. He talked like an adult but acted like an infant. The father was a weakling, plain and simple. I mean grow a pair, man! (I guess the rant wasn’t over)

The drama involving Davina felt drawn out and repetitive. And her saviour coming to her rescue didn’t fly with me. Even if I buy that someone would do that the simplicity of her getting into it so fast without paperwork or anything was a joke. I am purposely being vague so as not to spoil it for other readers. I don’t like having my emotions played with, just because a book is sad doesn’t mean I am going to automatically like it.

This title is currently available for purchase.







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