When people ask me, “Why is the book called American Butterfly?” I urge them to read the story. The answers are there, on every page and especially at the end–just like for any good story.
I can say a few things, however, that I don’t think will spoil the ending.
American Butterfly is clearly about America and how our American family finds itself here in the third decade of the 21st century.
Butterflies are beautiful. They display stunning colors and intricate wing designs. Some think them the most attractive species in the animal kingdom.
Butterflies are varied. They come in hundreds of shapes and a rainbow of colors. Some are big, some small. Some tend towards small groups. Some towards large. Some remain close to where they were born. Some travel thousands of miles.
Butterflies are fragile. They are tossed by the wind and easily beaten by the rain. As adults, they have limited strength to fight a brutal world.
Butterflies are survivors. Despite their limitations, butterflies are able to evade predators and survive with damaged wings and legs and bodies. As caterpillars they are determined foragers and stout soldiers. As pupa, they are surrounded by an armored shell.
Butterflies transform. Butterflies evolve to live new lives in new worlds. From a sticky egg, to a voracious, crawling caterpillar, to a motionless chrysalis cocoon, to a vibrant, flying butterfly. They find a path to the future again and again.