2 out of 4 stars
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Barbara Sala wrote a daring novel entitled Insectual: The Secret of the Black Butterfly. Insectual tells the story of a woman named Maya as she tries to sort out her confused sexual feelings. Maya does not experience the same sexual attraction for her husband as he does for her. This puts a strain on her marriage and has countless negative impacts on their kids. She goes to therapy to learn the roots of her sexual detachment, and the answer she finds startles her to the very core. This story walks through the dramatic ups and downs of her journey to self discovery and forgiveness.
The best part of this book is that it dares to talk about topics typically seen as taboo. Sala addresses sexual abuse in various forms throughout the story. She shows that the events of these things leave a lasting impact on the abused person that can trickle down to affect their families. However, often times there seems to be an emotional disconnect in the writing. Readers know all of the details that have lead to Maya’s distress, but there is an emotional barrier between Maya and the readers. If this barrier would have been broken down, Sala could have created a story that had a much stronger lasting impression on readers.
The biggest downfall of this story is that it is covered in inconsistencies. The age of the characters and settings change rapidly throughout the story. This creates multiple situations where the reader is left confused as to which country the characters are in, or exactly what stage of life. More importantly, there were situations where in one chapter the setting or character age is inconsistent with the situation in the previous chapter. This is hard for readers to follow, and oftentimes leads to confusion that distracts from the plot.
The book is clearly directed at a mature audience. The topics it addresses are heavy and young readers often times will not be able to handle their weight. This text seems to lend itself more to a female audience. It has the ability to offer reassurance to females who have found themselves in sexually abusive situations. This is especially true since certain aspects of this story are based on Sala’s experiences.
Great potential is held within the words of this story, but it lacks a lot in continuity and emotional connection with the readers. For this reason, it deserves 2 out of 4 stars. Sala has the opportunity to go far with her writing. That is evident in this text. However, she does not reach her peak in this story.
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