Customer Reviews for

In the Time of the Butterflies

Average Rating 4.5
( 229 )
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(139)

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(15)

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(8)

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(7)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

20 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

A high school student who loves history!

When I read this fantastic, innovative, and well written novel, it gave me a new insight on the history of the Dominican Republic. I had never before heard of Truilljo or the Miribal sisters. Not only did it give me great information (and a great movie as well!), but ...
When I read this fantastic, innovative, and well written novel, it gave me a new insight on the history of the Dominican Republic. I had never before heard of Truilljo or the Miribal sisters. Not only did it give me great information (and a great movie as well!), but it also gave me inspiration. As a young woman, I know that I can achieve many things, just like Minerva did. I highly recommend this book for all who want a good book to read, want to learn, and want to become inspired.

posted by Anonymous on June 30, 2004

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Most Helpful Critical Review

20 out of 55 people found this review helpful.

!

Thanks to the MANY rude, hateful inconsiderate plot spoiling posters who revealed every detail of the book, especially the fool that quoted long passages from the book...thanks for ruining the book. Each and every one of you should be banned from posting.

posted by 8888649 on February 7, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2013

    !

    Thanks to the MANY rude, hateful inconsiderate plot spoiling posters who revealed every detail of the book, especially the fool that quoted long passages from the book...thanks for ruining the book. Each and every one of you should be banned from posting.

    20 out of 55 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2004

    A high school student who loves history!

    When I read this fantastic, innovative, and well written novel, it gave me a new insight on the history of the Dominican Republic. I had never before heard of Truilljo or the Miribal sisters. Not only did it give me great information (and a great movie as well!), but it also gave me inspiration. As a young woman, I know that I can achieve many things, just like Minerva did. I highly recommend this book for all who want a good book to read, want to learn, and want to become inspired.

    20 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2008

    Woohoo! Go Dominicans and Mrs. Matzke!

    I loved this book! The plot was excellent. My friend recommended this book because we both are Dominican. It is a wonderful novel through the interpretation of Julia Alavarez. She made it so that it sounded very believable it felt like an actual account.She brings their spirits and this time back to life in a charming story. The book was kind of confusing at first in the beginning through the eyes of Dede's nostalgia,because you needed to know the whole story. After I read through it, though, it explained itself'the story is mainly told in flashbacks'. In the time of Trujillo's dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, these sisters had the courage to risk their lives for their beloved country. They made a big impact. In my opinion, it's more of a feminine book. I recommend it, though, so go ahead and enjoy! =]

    15 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2010

    A beautiful story

    This book was chosen for my book club. Upon reading the synopsis I felt little excitement for it. Perhaps this is why it surpassed my expectations so greatly. It was a beautifully written story about three strong sisters who fought against the law for what they believed in. You feel like part of their family as you turn the pages.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2008

    A good plot plagued by some serious issues.

    I did not enjoy the novel 'In the Time of the Butterflies', by Julia Alvarez. I found it to be quite dull, and very confusing as well. The story itself, however, is quite interesting. It starts off with one of the sisters, named Dede, telling the story of her and her other sisters. The story then shifts throughout each of the sisters perspectives as the story is being told, each telling through a different perspective. This aspect of the story I did not mind, and found it a rather new and refreshing style of story telling. It's too bad that the interesting way of telling the story did not help it in the end. As I've said before, the story itself was quite enjoyable. It was about four sisters who grew up in different ways. The book follows their life from when they were very young to when they are older. As the story progresses, the four sisters go from young children throughout life, to rebelling against the dictator known as El Jefe. He controls the land and he forces the people who live there to live in a certain way, with rules he decides. Soon, an underground resistance group rises up, with the sisters as large figures in it. He finds out about this, and tries to put an end to them. While this made for an interesting plot, the rest of the book basically ruined it. What I found most unpleasant about this book was its lack of focus, and numerous unneeded and overall annoying sections. The book has so many different sub plots, it's hard to take them all in so quickly, and eventually you begin to lose interest in the mundaneness of it all. There are just so many extra, unneeded things that it overall ruins the entire story. The main story itself, however, is not so bad. It is actually quite an interesting one, having to do with the rebellion against a dictator, and the will to live in a free country. The way the story is told differs from chapter to chapter, and is done in a quite interesting way. In one, it is told in the form of a diary, and in another, it is told through the eyes of one of the sisters in a first person perspective. So, overall, the book had an enjoyable and interesting story told through a fresh, new way, but suffered dearly because of the amount of detail it contained. It made the novel much harder to read and comprehend, much less enjoy. If it had been more concise, and had followed the main story line a lot more without all the useless descriptions and banter, it would have made for a much more enjoyable read. Overall, I'd give 'In the Time of the Butterflies' 2 stars.

    5 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2013

    I read In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez twelve y

    I read In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez twelve years ago and it remains a favorite. This historical novel is part fact, part fiction. The setting is the Dominican Republic during the brutal and oppressive dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo, who ruled from 1930 until his assassination in 1961. Alvarez chronicles the real and imagined lives of the Mirabel sisters, known as “las mariposas” or “the butterflies” because everyone in the resistant movement had false names. The book spans back and forth over the course of their childhood, teenage years, married adult lives and eventually their role in the subversive movement against Trujillo. Sadly, the book begins with three of the four sisters found dead after visiting their jailed husbands. While their deaths are intended to look like an accident, Alvarez reveals the risks these women took that eventually made them government targets.
    While I know this is a book recommendation site, I read this over a decade ago, so I’m a little hazy on the details. This is not what you want to hear when deciding on whether or not to read my recommendation, but what transpired while reading this great book is still so vivid and will prove that it is a must read.
    I have to bring you back three weeks prior to my having read In the Time of the Butterflies. For reasons that remain unknown (thank God there is no embarrassing context), I fainted in my Brooklyn apartment one February morning. Apparently I had broken the fall with my chin and my roommate found me face down with my arms at my side. My memory of the event is recorded in snapshots. I remember waking up thinking I had pretzels in my mouth, which were in fact broken teeth. Next I remember hearing my roommate calling 911. Then I remember her holding me in her lap telling me I was ok as I repeatedly told her I was fine. And then the paramedics arrived. When I foolishly asked to see a mirror in the ambulance, I saw missing teeth and a gaping hole in my chin.
    I was transported to the nearest hospital- Woodhull Hospital. I have no memory of my entrance, but my mother told me the first thing she saw when she entered was a “de-lousing” room. In short, Woodhull Hospital is a horrifying place. Here are some reviews I found online:
    “Do not go to this hospital, even if you're dying. Seriously, if you're dying, you should be in an ambulance headed to any hospital but this one. It has one of the dirtiest, scariest ERs I've ever seen.”
    “This hospital caters mostly to drunks and crack heads who need to dry out or come down. If I were to bring a child here, I would have to cover her eyes. The scene is bad enough if you're healthy, but coming here with some sort of illness or injury makes you kind of hope they just kill you. But be careful what you wish for, because it's likely that they will.”
    While at this house of horrors, I learned I had a broken and dislocated jaw (aside from smashed teeth and a busted chin) and I would have to stay a week. Upon hearing the news, I started crying. I was obviously very upset, but I was more distraught about the possibility of missing an upcoming trip to Belize.
    I spent the night in that crazy hospital, but left the next day against doctor’s orders so I could receive proper care (I had already let a dentist stitch my chin closed). Oh what a sight I must have been. I left with gauze wrapped around my head and chin, not unlike a mummy. I had no shoes, so I walked in the snow to the car in hospital booties. Once I reached the oral surgeon’s office, I started crying again. Not because of the people staring at me in horror, but because I was finally getting adequate care. This care required having my jaw snapped back into place and then wired shut for 6 WEEKS.
    Despite my liquid diet, inability to articulate, and rapidly declining weight, I was not canceling my trip to Belize with my friend Christina. My carry on suit case included cases of Ensure, a water pick, books and a bikini-everything I needed in case my luggage disappeared.
    The first book I read there was The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami. I know Murakami is hailed as a talented novelist, but this book did nothing for me. My brother has a knack for recommending books that are so unbelievably not my taste. Then I started and finished In the Time of the Butteflies in a single day.
    On that day, Christina and I parked ourselves in the sand and we left once for lunch (my lunch for the week was broth, Ensure, and a Coke). The rest of the day I spent buried in my book. I used to take tanning very seriously, but on that particular day I did not re-position my chair with the changing angle of the sun because I was knee deep in the lives of the Mirabel sisters. When I tore myself away for another can of Ensure, I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror of our room and I almost fainted again. I had managed to get a really bad burn on my face- but only half of my face. It was if someone had drawn a diagonal line from the top left of my forehead to the bottom right of my chin. You could almost see the imaginary line that had been drawn on my already battered face.
    Christina promised me it really wasn’t that bad. She’s a good friend, but a liar. When we were at the hotel bar later that night, I felt a man sitting next to me sneaking glances our way. Finally he flat out asked “So what happened to your face?” And I had to answer him, through my wired shut jaw. It was not my finest hour.
    So while part of my burnt face eventually scabbed, I had at least read a fantastic book. And Julia Alvarez continues to be one of my favorite authors.

    4 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2006

    Incredible

    I love this book. It broke my heart with it's beauty and strength!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2004

    In simple words: a VERY good book

    I recommend In the Times of the Butterflies to everyone in search of a good reading. YOU WILL LOVE THIS! When I was about to finish the book, only a few pages left, I kept going back and back to the core of the story, I did not want it to be over. It was an amazing 'so worth the reading'! A MUST READ, FOR SURE!!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    I Cried

    This book is worth the tears!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2010

    Horrible.

    What can I say? Julia Alvarez is a critically acclaimed author, but I have to say, this book is terrible. The plot was slow and often had little to no exciting tidbits as the plot progressed. You must have to be really into women's rights or dictatorships to appreciate this book I suppose.

    Short Answer= Don't buy it, I regret it and I hope you don't.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2008

    A great book

    I have not read such a good book in a long time. It had a perfect mix of history with fiction. The story was interesting and told with such emotion. The characters were easy to connect and relate to. I really enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone who wants to read about strong women and men in a time and place where strength is hard to come by.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2007

    Fantastic!!

    I love this book! The author not only shows the butterflies as the martyrs they became but also as the strong, beautiful women that they were. This book is one of my favorites. A must read!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2005

    Best book ever!!!!

    This made me think about thingts I have never thought of before. It is the realest historical fiction I have ever read and made me cry my eyes out... I loved it

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2005

    flutter flutter, flutter flutter

    What exactly happened during Trujillo¡¯s dictatorship in the Dominican Republic anyway? Julia Alvarez goes behind the scenes as she shares the story of four courageous young ladies in the book In the Time of the Butterflies. This treacherous event in Hispanic Caribbean history can finally be told in fiction, the only way that it can be fully understood. I personally enjoyed reading this book a lot. Not only because I like true stories, but because the author wrote in a way that makes it feel real to the reader. The story is about four sisters, Las Mariposas (¡°The Butterflies¡±), who share their side of the story behind the events that took place during the regime. In the end they are killed, but no one realizes that one of the sisters is alive. The story begins with the surviving sister being interviewed to set the facts straight on what exactly happened to her sisters. Throughout the story, we are able to see the event from various perspectives. The story never gets boring as the writing style differs in every chapter. This is possible because every chapter is a different sister¡¯s account, so it had to be voiced differently. Once you started getting tired or bored of something, the chapter would be over and you would see the account from a different view. From their school life, love life, life in prison to the days of house arrest, the story never ceases to surprise you. By reading this heart breaking story we are able to remember the horrible things in this world that should never be forgotten in fear of their reoccurrence. I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone. It was almost impossible to put this book down once I started reading it. The only reason that I would stop reading the book was because I was so tired that I couldn¡¯t see! Even though some events in history seem irrelevant and boring, when it is told in a form of writing such as fiction, it seems more real to you. Though it seems like just an imagined story, you will be amazed at what really happens to some people in reality. The only thing that acted as a hindrance in the progress of reading this book was all the Spanish. There was quite a bit of Spanish used here and there. It was difficult to read some portions of the book and fully comprehend what was going on if you didn¡¯t know what certain words meant. However, if you are fairly confident in your Spanish skills, don¡¯t let anything stop you from picking this book up on your way home today.

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2003

    My all-time favorite book...

    This is one of the very, very best books I've ever read and my FAVORITE of all time...it is powerful, riveting, touching and based on a true story. A must-read!!!! If you saw the HBO movie, THE BOOK IS 110% BETTER THAN THE MOVIE!!!!!!! The movie does not do the book justice @ all!! Read the real thing.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2006

    Latina

    This book reflects the intelligence that latinas have. I'm not trying to brag because im a female but all women can show there intelligence and capability. I as a Dominican am very proud to say that i met DeDe the living sister of the four.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2013

    This is a wonderful book. I wish I could give it two ratings. Th

    This is a wonderful book. I wish I could give it two ratings. The book deserves five stars. Perfectly written, captivating characterizations, a near-perfect book. Unfortunately, the Nook version is riddled with typos. Missing periods, misscanned words (a common one is "mil" for "will," and other typos that are sometimes enough to draw me out of the story to figure out what it was supposed to say. In one case, a sentence became almost nonsensical due to a misprinting. It doesn't spoil the book for me, so I'm still giving it five stars here, but with typos on nearly every page (or at least, so it seems), I feel like I need to qualify my praise.

    The story itself, though, is one of the best I've read in a long time. If you haven't read it and you find it interesting enough that you want to check the reviews, by all means, get it. I don't think you'll be sorry.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2013

    Outstanding novel based on real people and events

    This is an extremely emotional story about 4 sisters, their husbands and family, in the Dominican Republic during the time of Trujillo. It pulls you into the story and you live during that time too. An amazing story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2011

    Highly recommend

    Based on historical events. Written from the viewpoint of each sister which gives more depth from the different perspectives.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Long Live the Butterflies

    I found this fictionalized account of the Maribal sisters to be a very good read. Does this mean I enjoyed it completely? Not exactly.
    The first two parts of this novel were rather tedious, and I had a hard time getting into them. The last part however, was thrilling as well as informative. Thats because its when the girls really got into the movement. This book was touching and inspiring. It was sad to see the high points in the girls' lives, as I knew how it was going to end.
    This was a good read, which I do recommend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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