Books, Gardens, Dogs
The Butterfly's Daughter - Mary Alice Monroe Luz lives with her grandmother after her mother, Mariposa, dies in Wisconsin. Her grandmother of Mexican descent tries to teach Luz the meaning of life through the folklore of Mexico, but when her grandmother dies suddenly, Luz loses her center and embarks on a trip of a lifetime to take her grandmother's ashes back to Mexico and the sanctuary where the Monarch butterfly winters. The trip is a self discovery for Luz and the three women she meets along the way. Her grandmother has purchased an old orange VW to take a trip to visit relatives, but they always put off because of no money. Now Luz is forced to follow through and the trip ends up being a changing point in her life.She leaves her boyfriend, Sully, behind and the car breaks down. While it is being fixed, she temps at a restaurant, where she meets Ofelia who is pregnant. When Ofelia is beaten by her boyfriend, Luz convinces her to leave and they go on to visit Ofelia's mother where Ofelia and her dog can stay until the baby is born. When they reach the nursery where Ofelia's mother worked and discover she is gone, Ofelia goes into labor and stays with the nursery owner and Luz picks up a new traveler, Margaret, the uptight nursery manager who always had plans to visit the butterfly sanctuary. Their next stop leads them to a camp ground where they meet Stacie, a free spirit who adds to the mix and directs them to Austin and their next stop.Stacie brings her own kind of magic to Luz's self discovery trip. She teaches both Margaret and Luz that they should enjoy life and take it as it comes.The final step in Luz's journey is when she meets her mother's family and there a startling discovery is made that makes Luz rethink her whole history. The news Luz receives is a life changing event that you need to read about--sorry no spoiler here! Luz does make the trek to the butterfly sanctuary and grows immensely. I just loved the descriptions and how the author related self discovery to the different stages of a butterfly's life cycle. Each chapter starts with a description of the life cycle and you can just imagine how Luz felt with each step of her journey with some remarkable women that she meets along the way, each of them goddesses like the folklore tales she grew up with.I live on the western coastal trail of the Monarch's migration and they are just starting their trek home. The day I received this book in the mail, I saw my first Monarch of the season. I had such a amazing feeling of hope that only progressed as I read the book. I have some milkweed plants and I will plant more to see if I can get the Monarchs to stay in my yard, but because the route is also a bird migration route, the eggs don't last long here as the birds gobble them up. This is truly an inspiring tale of new beginnings and wonderful way to look at your own surroundings in that you can be reborn like a butterfly.

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