Aug 9, 2009

The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante

The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia GalanteOn the surface, Agnes and Honey are as different as night and day. Inside of the commune walls of Mount Blessing, these two best friends are going through typical teenage rivalry. Honey, an orphaned child who lives with the physically and mentally challenged gardener Winky, is a wild child who chafes at the restrictions she is forced to live under. Her best friend, the pious Agnes, is determined to become a saint and continually chastises Honey for her rebellious behavior.

The one thing that both the girls agree on is Nana Pete, Agnes' paternal grandmother. She lives in the "real world" that is "dangerous to the Mount Blessing way of life," but she is allowed to visit her family at the compound. It is during one of these such visits that Nana Pete discovers Honey, along with other believers, are being physically punished in the Regulation Room by their leader Emmanuel. While this is abhorrent to Nana Pete, it is not until Agnes' little brother Benny is seriously injured and denied adequate medical attention that Nana Pete spirits all three children away. What ensues can only be described as miraculous for all involved.

A truly captivating read, Galante looks at the secretive and mysterious nature of commune living. While the abuse is what media reports like to focus on, there are other aspects that often go unnoticed. This book covers all of these aspects and more. Exploratory and enchanting, this book is a must read!

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