Dancing with Butterflies: A Novel by Reyna Grande

MAGNIFICENT –  FIVE STARS!

When I ordered this book, I thought, “Oh, how cool. A book about Folklorico dancers.” I love Mexico’s beautiful traditional dancers. I envisioned a fluffy read, beautifully costumed. Forget that. This is a serious piece of literature set within a world of dance. It’s an ensemble work, centered on Alegria, a Folklorico dance ensemble, and a group of Latino men and women associated with the dance troop. I’m not going to go into more detail about the characters, because other reviewers have covered them thoroughly.

I recall reading an interview with one of our great living authors. He said words to the effect that making readers care deeply for intriguing characters and then doing terrible things to them was the secret of writing. Author Reyna Grande does that to the max. Her portrayals are so vivid that I almost stopped reading this book a couple of times. Watching her characters making obviously destructive life choices over and over really disturbed me. But I couldn’t stop reading. “That’s the definition of a good book,” my husband said. “You can’t stop reading.”

I read on to the end and was very rewarded. I would never use the term “chicklit” to describe Reyna Grande’s work. This is too deep and impactful and carries a compelling message for and about all human beings. The author also weaves information about Folklorico and love of dance throughout. A highly recommended book.

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