Great idea

College does not need to be free! Making it free will turn it into high school, and that is not what young adults need.

I’ve taught English or other learning support classes at local technical colleges for years now. As each year brings higher loads of debt for students who attend “traditional college” I can’t help but think how most of those students would be better off in a vocational setting. In Georgia, most technical colleges offer (or even require) English, math, and other courses which enhance the overall education experience, along with the programs that end with a career. But, the tuition costs are low, because our teachers are paid to merely teach. It’s nice to see that others agree that the current crop of students should consider a technical education.

 

By Pamela/Pilar Posted in writing

Butterfly Garden— a review

I’d love to show my readers the cover image for this cool and disturbing book, but I can’t get WP and Amazon’s file formats to talk. But, trust me, this book will get under your skin and into your memory.

One of my favorite genres of fiction is what is sometimes termed psychological fiction because the author gets into the minds of the characters. Perhaps it is due to my life experiences, or maybe it is due to my eclectic reading, but I am fascinated by the caretaker/villian. One my first exposures to this genre was the film “The Collector” based on the novel by John Fowles. Later, I read the book, which was also fascinating, but perhaps even more disturbing than the movie, which nicely bridges the gap between suspense and horror.

I think that Dot Hutchinson may have read the same book. That is not to say that her novel, The Butterfly Garden, is a rip-off of The Collector; it is not. However, there are some common aspects, so I will say that my guess is that she was inspired by the Fowles novel. Both novels deal with a warped collector, interested in butterflies, and his hapless series of victims. But, the villain in The Collector had one victim (at a time); in Hutchinson’s novel, the Gardener has a much bigger operation. Hutchinson basically took the plot, then raised the stakes. Her villain is far more villainous, so be forewarned that this novel is really disturbing. There is some bad language, as well as non-graphic rape and other unpleasantness directed toward the female victims.

The Butterfly Garden is modern in tone, pace, and language. But it is more of a “why” novel than a “what novel” as it begins at the end, and the plot unfolds as detectives try to unravel the story of the interactions between our victim (who has 3 names before it is over, so I won’t name her here) and an individual that the main character knows as the Gardener. Our protagonist is more victim than heroine, but she is certainly brave in a multi-layered manner. The novel is well-written and sufficiently suspenseful for me to have read it in a couple of evenings.

There are few parallels between The Butterfly Garden and my own psychological novel, The Gift Horse. However, an exploration of the role of the victim is common to both. If any of you readers enjoyed The Gift Horse, and were not overly offended, then you should try The Butterfly Garden. I really, really enjoyed it. But, I am not am not outraged by villains doing really bad things. That is what makes such characters villains.

By Pamela/Pilar Posted in writing