“Butterfly” by V.C. Andrews is the first book in the “Orphan Miniseries”. It was a short, quick read, which is what I have come to expect from a V.C. Andrews book. Her novels tend to be quick reads full of drama, disturbing behavior, incest, physical abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse, sexual violence, insane parental figures, and no happy endings. All the ingredients for a best-selling author! Based on my past experiences with V.C. Andrews, this is what I went into expecting from “Butterfly” and I was shocked when it didn’t deliver. At least, not everything I had been expecting.
The book starts off at an orphanage where we meet the main character, Janet. She is preparing for an interview with some potential parents, Sanford and Celine. They adopt her and we soon learn the adoption of Janet is Celine’s twisted attempt at fulfilling her dreams of being a famous dancer, a dream that disappeared when she was in a horrible car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. “…You won’t fail,” she said confidently. “I won’t let you fail. I’ll be your cushion, your parachute. You won’t suffer the sort of disappointments I suffered,” she pledged.” (Butterfly, pg 23). Early on it was clear that we could check the box next to ‘insane parental figures’.
Celine’s obsession with dance and more importantly making Janet her clone prove just how unstable she is. “She has a natural proclivity to do the right thing. It’s in her nature. She’s instinctive, just as I was, Sanford. She’s me. She understands.” (Butterfly, pg 54). I thought this quote really put it out there. Celine is convinced that she can mold Janet to be the dancer Celine herself was supposed to be. With all the ballet training comes new characters including a dance teacher, Madam Malisorf and a male student, Dimitri. As soon as he was introduced I thought he would be the one to push himself on Janet. I was half-right. Either way, the sexual violence was there. Another check box for the V.C. Andrews recipe for a novel, there was also the lack of a happy ending – but I won’t detail it in case you want to read it.
Would I recommend this book? Yes and no. On the one hand, I think that V.C. Andrews is not that great of an author. I bought all of her books together and I’ve come to find that there really is a formula that she writes with. It’s not the best. But at the same time, her books can be quite entertaining. It is fun to see where she is going to take it next and to play a guessing game to figure out which character is going to lose their mind and which one is going to be the unexpected nice guy and which will be the unexpected bad guy. And who is going to bring in the sexual violence aspect to the book – a V.C. Andrews book wouldn’t be the same without it. Overall, I wouldn’t put a lot of effort into reading her books, but it can be a unique kind of fun if you’re a weirdo like me.