After reading Junot Díaz's The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
, I became moderately obsessed with the history of the Dominican Republic during the era of the horrendous dictator Trujillo. I've been doing lots of research, but learning through historical fiction has been the coolest. I always wonder how tyrants like these are allowed to rise, as the population of the country could have taken over if they weren't divided. Maybe that's how they do it. Either way, Trujillo like most (all) dictators, are solid proof that ruling off of fear only lasts so long before you get cut off.
I don't know why this book made me sad; I knew what the outcome would be. The four sisters ultimately were going to die, as stated obviously in the beginning of the book. However, when they were going up the mountain I was like "noooo, don't go up there!" I'm not really sure how much of the stories of the four women (the youngest of the Mirabal sisters who survived the attack on the family) in this novel are true (and if anyone would like to shed light on that, please don't hesitate), but don't let that detract from the novel.
In constant battle with personal connections to religion, senses of justice, systemic oppression in just about ever fashion imaginable, strained relations between family members, and ugly truths, Alvarez creates a true masterpiece within three hundred and fifty-two pages. Each sister becomes their own person, finding their ways through the trials they stand against. I hope that this novel is considered for placement on reading lists for courses pertaining to Latin American and Caribbean history and Women's Rights. Talk about role models.
Labels: historical fiction, in the time of butterflies, julia alvarez