Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Butterfly Garden, by Chip St. Clair

The Butterfly Garden: Surviving Childhood on the Run with One of America's Most WantedAs a child, Chip lived in fear of his father.  He suffered abuse, and never knew what was going to ignite his father's wrath.  Then suddenly, Chip learned that everything about his life was a lie.  His name, his birthdate, everything.  The man he knew as his father was not at all what he seemed, but was in fact a criminal.  For the next several years, Chip would try to figure out who he was, where he came from, and what he would choose to do with his life.

Much like A Child Called It, this is a wonderful and terrible book all at the same time.  Wonderful in composition and message, terrible in that it ever had to be written.  It is never easy to read books about child abuse, but this one is a great story of empowerment.  Chip chose to not remain a victim, but to instead become an advocate for others.

While the details of the situation were a little hazy in the book, I am sure there were some things that legally could not be disclosed.  Perhaps someday another book, more in depth, can be written about the situation, to clear up some of the questions.  But all in all I think this was an important story, one that needed to be told, and this book told it well.  Any fan of memoirs will appreciate the book, and those who enjoyed Dave Peltzer's books will enjoy this as well.