Tuesday, February 10, 2009
As a matter of course, I always skip over introductions, prefaces, forewords, and epigraphs, and hunker down into whatever I'm reading. Sometimes I do it merely to make the book shorter and thus more approachable; other times I do it because I'm afraid that the front matter will ruin the story for me, will make me interpret it a certain way, or even know major plot twists before they actually occur. In the case of The Girl Who Threw Butterflies, I did the same thing. I skipped right over the table of contents (same deal--the chapters headings will be dead giveaways, I thought to myself) and the three epigraphs (I did pause long enough to count them, but then I thought, as always, on to the story!), and jumped right into the book. But once I finished this incredibly moving, supremely visual (almost intoxicatingly so), and mesmerizing young adult novel, I flipped back to the epigraphs and read them again. How beautiful they were! How I wished that I read them before I started the book! What clues they give to this delicate discussion of loss, grief, sport, and love. It was alas, too late. But not, thankfully, for the second, third, and fourth readings. And now I know--I've learned my lesson. Like Molly, who learns to let go, maybe next time, next book, I'll let go too. For your next great read, this is one that I can't recommend highly enough.