Uff, this was hard to get through. Not because of the writing, the writing was great. It was more because of the horrifying, haunting subject matter. If you can’t read about rape, murder, kidnapping, pedophilia, and other disturbing subjects, do not read The Butterfly Garden. If you can get through it, then this book horrifyingly haunting, with the subject matter written in a way where it describes the evil things happening in-depth, but is well-written enough to keep the reader enthralled. Every single thing that Hutchison includes feels like it was meant to be in there to give the reader an understanding of the horror these girls are going through… Nothing, to me, seemed over-the-top gruesome.
In The Butterfly Garden, there is a dark, twisted man, that collects butterflies. You may think, how is this haunting? Well, it might not be haunting if they were actual butterflies, but this man takes young women all under 21, tattoos realistic butterfly wings on their backs, and once they turn of age, something horrible happens. He is collecting kidnapped young women and turning innocent, beautiful young women into his “butterflies”, his possessions.
Hutchison is amazing at writing her characters. Maya is the main character, who is being interviewed by the agents, and she tells the horrifying stories of what happens within the garden walls. Not only stories of the Gardener and his sons terrorizing the butterflies, but also the stories of the friendships kindled during this dark time of the girls’ lives. It’s absolutely disgusting that The Gardener sees nothing wrong with what he is doing. Her stories give me shivers down the spine just thinking about them. Sometimes, while I was reading, I had to put the book down to digest the horrible things that were happening.
Maya explains and understands the girls as if she were their sister. The friendships curated in the garden are deep, beautiful, in a way, and positively lifesaving for these girls. Without each other, they would go crazy, some still do. The survivors learn to lean on each other for support, and more importantly, for survival.
If you can get through twisted, dark, haunting tales, I do recommend The Butterfly Garden. It’s woven well, explores friendships in the worst of times, and give a horrifying look into some extremely twisted minds.