Feeling a bit chilly? Warm up with some more of our suggestions of the Best Reads of the amazing year that was 2012.
“I read this book at the beginning of last year, when it was very cold outside and the butterflies had all but gone. The story charts the life of a mother who spent (what felt like) a lifetime in prison after being charged with murdering her own child in a ‘punishment room’. I try to avoid books deal with children coming to harm because I find myself getting upset for those fictional souls long after the book is finished and the immediacy of reading – no, of taking part in their lives – is over. But McGill deals with the topic with sensitivity and realism in equal measure. No mean feat, I can tell you.
I followed the lives of Maddie, Harriet and the children for a long time. Much longer than it took to read their stories. I had cause to think of them again, just last week. I went for my usual walk, past the main street in Dundrum, Co. Down, where a derelict bar sits facing the road, the tables and chairs covered in a film of four-year-old dust. In the window, sits a four-year-old butterfly between the pane and the chair where it must have got trapped, resplendent in all its glory but for the beginnings of decay on the outer tips of its wings. I see it every day. It never ceases to amaze me that even in death, something can appear like a kind of living memory – so very beautiful and untouched… And so perfectly formed.”
(Patricia Canning, Get Into Reading Northern Ireland Project Worker)
Read more of Patricia’s thoughts on The Butterfly Cabinet by checking out her Recommended Read piece on the book from earlier this year.
“I had been meaning to read this book for so long, and finally this year I got around to it! After all of the recommendations by friends and colleagues I was pretty excited about reading it, and also a bit worried about being disappointed… but it certainly did not let me down. A witty, beautifully-written and deeply moving book about one young man who is reunited with his old university tutor, who is near the end of his life. The wisdom of Morrie’s words, and his unique way of imparting life’s lessons will certainly make you think differently about a few things… I challenge you to keep a dry eye throughout the reading!”
(Charlotte Weber, Reader-in-Residence, Liverpool Hope University)