It took me longer to read Red Butterfly than it should have, because Easter. (And a sick and teething one-year-old.) I finally finished it last night, however, and I can’t help feeling that the time it took to read it made the book more meaningful to me.
Red Butterfly is the story of Kara, an American Chinese girl who ultimately becomes a Chinese-American. It is also a story of different kinds of love, of different levels of sacrifice, and of different ways of being brave. Reading it more slowly gave me time to ponder how those differences worked together in different people, and what that meant for Kara’s future. The book didn’t end the way I initially wanted it to, but by the time I finished it, I was glad of it. Adoption can be complicated, and Kara’s situation didn’t end perfectly, but it ended well.
I actually checked this out on my 9-year-old’s library card, thinking I’d read it and pass it along to her; after finishing it, I opted just to return it instead. Kara’s situation would have frustrated her, I think, and a fair portion of the book would have been emotionally beyond her. My second girlie, on the other hand, LOVES the emotionally complex. She loves listening to Patricia Polacco’s books (many of which are impossible for me to read aloud without crying), wonders aloud about what would happen if her future husband died (she “doesn’t want to raise children by herself”), and is currently adoring a picture book about the life (and death) of Anna Pavlova. If she were 9-plus, she’d probably love this one.
Bottom line? There’s a lot going on emotionally in this book, but it’s ultimately an impressive read.
Give it a try.