Book Review

Book Review: Praise Song for the Butterflies by Bernice McFadden

Synopsis:

Abeo Kata lives a comfortable, happy life in West Africa as the privileged nine-year-old daughter of a government employee and stay-at-home mother. But when the Katas’ idyllic lifestyle takes a turn for the worse, Abeo’s father, following his mother’s advice, places the girl in a religious shrine, hoping that the sacrifice of his daughter will serve as atonement for the crimes of his ancestors. Unspeakable acts befall Abeo for the fifteen years she is held in the shrine. When she is finally rescued, broken and battered, she must struggle to overcome her past, endure the revelation of family secrets, and learn to trust and love again.

In the tradition of Chris Cleave’s Little Bee, this novel is a contemporary story that offers an eye-opening account of the practice of ritual servitude in West Africa. Spanning decades and two continents, Praise Song for the Butterflies will break your heart and then heal it.

My Review:

Whew! *Wipes tears*

Ms. McFadden did not disappoint as usual. She delivered a beautiful, poignant tale of family, trust, love, and secrets all within a few amount of pages.

I was immediately drawn into the story. It was written in a fashion that although the topics were heavy, it was a fast read. Every word was purposeful and necessary. No wasted verbage here. This is one novel that I’ll probably read over and over.

Throughout the story, I ran through a gamut of emotions. Abeo, one of the characters that the novel followed, took my heart and ran with it. I just wanted her to come out on top!

This novel also brought to light a topic in which I had heard about but had never really given too much thought: trokosis or the concept of ritual servitude. I plan to look more into this topic.

My only complaint was that I wanted more! But she did come full circle and left no open ends and I loved that!

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