Friday, June 11, 2010

Book Review: The Butterfly Revolution

When I made my way through the Query Shark tank [see my original query posted here and another stab at it by the shark here] a few comments included references to books with an insect theme. The two I had not heard of before were The Butterfly Revolution and The Collector. I promptly ordered both and have since received these two new (to me, but actually used) books.

I finished The Butterfly Revolution this morning. I was surprised I'd never heard of it before. It was really engaging, but also incredibly sad. The back cover compares it to both Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies.

The story, in a nutshell, is about boys at a camp who decide to hold a revolution. The revolution is instigated by just a few key characters, the older boys at camp who hate all the silly activities. The title comes from their rebellion at the idea of having to collect butterflies, when they'd rather be doing something "fun". It is really a play on the idea of any coup, with all the predictable problems that come from one person's quest for power.

Everything you would expect to see happens: a committee for propaganda, dozens of brainless followers, a few truly crazy kids, and a whole web of deceit as the primary leader tries to control information and the masses. The author does the job incredibly well, but it is so hard to read in the sense that it is heartbreaking to watch it unfold.

And of course from my perspective it is not difficult to think of totalitarian or authoritarian states in existence right now, which is also depressing. In my classes we often talk about Robert Mugabe (more authoritarian than totalitarian, IMHO), because his quotes are a good jumping off place to talk about democracy, or rather "democracy".

I use his quote "Only God who appointed me will remove me - not the MDC, not the British" to talk about free and fair elections. Obviously, if only God can take you out of office, then it's a good bet your elections aren't being conducted in an honest way.

It was a good read. I am thinking about adding it on to the readings for my American Government class.

I plan to read The Collector, too... but I am giving myself a little break. Based on the back cover it is not a cheerful tale, and I need a little downtime.

In the meantime I have been rereading The Insect World of J. Henri Fabre. aaaahhh. delightful. I can still remember the first time I checked it out of the Charleston County Library and read it cover to cover. He is one of my all-time, favorite, naturalist writers. My current WIP deals a little bit with moth behavior, so I am including some of his studies on moths in the book.

Much more relaxing than totaliarian regimes, and just what I need considering Mike and all his guys friends are embarking on Mancation in just a few hours. They will be camping in Vermont until Sunday and I am planning a relaxing weekend at home with the boys.

1 comment:

  1. Ooh! Awesome find, can't wait to read it. Butterfly Revolution... Totally not what I expected!

    PoliGov love free flowing here. (:


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