2 out of 4 stars
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If you have picked up this book in hope of finding a cheerful story, I'm afraid you have picked up the wrong sort. In fact, you shouldn't be reading this if you don't have a strong stomach. I call this a collection of unfortunate events encountered by Maya.
From the very first page, we can see Maya troubled by her emotional turmoil. Taking us back to the period of mid-to-late 1900s, Maya discloses her dark secrets: the existence of the Devil, and her haunting insignia of the black butterfly. Plunged in psychotherapy for seven years, she peeled-off her constrains and confusions. The mirage of incest, scars of a dysfunctional family, and cripple sexual relations with men are some of the dark omens lingering in her mind. Nevertheless, will she find her inner peace?
Babara Sala in her unusual picture book Insectual: The Secret of The Black Butterfly for adults explores Maya's dark world. Engulfed in the world of psychological thriller: it has certain fragments associated with historical fiction and biography. In these 253 pages, Barbara brings out a typical mocumentary aspect written in the first person's perspective. Because of its mature contents, I strongly advise this read is suitable for an adult audience.
Babara explores Maya's odyssey: from war and betrayal in Germany, late 1940s to the adventures in Africa, 1960s. This includes the Mulele revolution and African political unrest. By 1980s in Montreal, North America, she undergoes psychotherapy for seven long years.
The structure divided into 4 parts consists of 71 chapters in total. Part 1, Marriage in Congo, consists of 26 chapters: introduces her current life as a U.N official, and her failing marriage with Lorenzo. Part 2, Childhood in Nazi Germany, consists of 18 chapters: explores her childhood traumas buried in the Bavarian Alps which is the family's hideaway from the bombing raids, and her happy but short-lived honeymoon. Part 3, Seduction in Therapy, consists of 23 chapters which discuss the gradual steps of Maya's inner revolution and discovery that ultimately ended her marriage. Part 4, The Later Years, consists of 4 chapters which discuss Maya's new-found strength to stand up and embrace herself away from negativity and abuse. The literary device of quotes pulled from the text to create a parallel universe of 80 drawings, each one an epiphany helps to picture Maya's mindset.
The style used address the audience through quick flashback memories of Maya. It's a fast-paced, complex plot that makes your mind twist and turn to understand Maya's given circumstances in life. Readers intrigued by deep cognitive psychology will find this read fascinating. Maya's psychological struggles reminded me of a movie called Before I Awake.
Barbara used a lot of gray and black characters, and out of all Maya stands apart. Her introvert nature aids her inner turmoil and struggles. The scars of her past, haunting her like a leech, tipped off in her psychotherapy sessions. The secret seductions in therapy helped to create awareness about abusive therapist. Maya's anatomy about the secret seduction, "dislodge the pebble that sets in motion an avalanche." She doesn't have trouble falling in love but experiences a crippled sex life. Throughout these pages, I noticed the emotional and mental development within Maya.
This read is far different to what I anticipated. Though recognized as a historical fiction read, larger proportion of this read focusses more toward psychological aspects. 'Maya needs help' was the only statement that screamed in my mind through this read. There were moments that will slap you right across your face demanding attention. This plot never failed to define every part of this read with reason. It has the ability to reflect your life if you are an absorbed reader. I experienced a tedious beginning. The only short-lived happy moments that I experienced were Maya's honeymoon period. Barbara hinted indirectly about her hidden intention of introducing 'let go' concept.
This read tested my limitations and patients. The illustrations weren't funny, but rather concerning since it reflects an individual's mental health. The ending left me flabbergasted. I had great expectations, but the author's failure to execute a strong finisher resulted in my disappointment. I noted grammatical and sentence structure errors on a large-scale, and wish to caution the importance of re-editing this read. Considering the disappointment, and its baffling stressful source I rating this 2 out of 4 stars. It was a tedious disappointment! It's my sad duty to record these unpleasant events, but there is nothing stopping you from selecting a much merrier book: if you prefer that sort of a thing.
With all due respect,
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