The Butterfly Garden by Chip St. Clair
Back of Book Description:
Every family has secrets, but Chip St. Clair survived the darkest of family betrayals. As a boy, he never knew what would set his father off--maybe the ice cubes had melted in his glass of Tab, maybe dinner was overcooked or undercooked, or the gravy was too runny. Regardless, the beatings always came. As did the twisted games of cat and mouse--being thrown from a rowboat into frigid Lake Michigan, the middle-of-the-night moves to different states, or being left to dangle over a twenty-seven-story balcony while his father watched from inside. But one fateful night when the police answered the call, the truth came to light from the shadows, sparking national headlines: Chip's entire life--his name, even his date of birth--had been a lie, and the man he called "Dad" was an impostor, an escaped child killer who had been on the run for over two decades. the stunning revelation that Chip had spent his life as the son of one of America's Most Wanted would send one man to justice and another on a quest for his true identity.
With chilling detail and a riveting, lyrical narrative, The Butterfly Garden reveals St. Clair's struggle to piece together his haunted past before it consumes him and shares his inspiring metamorphosis from victim to victim's advocate. The Butterfly Garden is a timeless triumph, a reminder that hope can be the most powerful of all emotions, freeing us to soar despite the past and the odds against us.
My Rating: B
I find myself at odds with what I want to write about this book. At times I want to say that there needed to be more information, but then I must remind myself how little information the author himself has. It is hard for me as a reader and a fellow human being to begrudge this man for writing a book before he had enough information about his own life to write it, but I must admit I find myself feeling this way.
I can't imagine what the author feels like, to not know his true identity. Well, actually I can, but not on such a large scale. Somehow though, I truly feel the author should have written the book from a different point of reference if he was wanting to truly write about his changing from being a victim to being a person who had some bad things happen to him.
The book starts out being about his childhood and how it was horrible (and it was) but the last couple of chapters are more about how this childhood affected his adult life. I think that the book should have been about one or the other. I felt a little let down towards the end, finding myself saying "Wait, that's it? That's all the story we get?" when it came to his childhood and the subsequent parole board meeting when his father may be let out of jail.
All in all, this was a good book, and it made me look differently at victims of crimes such as these. I just wish that the author had more details for himself (which he can not help) and that the reader could be privy to those details as well.