Butterfly People
by Robin Lim

[2009, Pasig City, Philippines: Anvil Publishing, Inc., 202 pages, paperback.]

[Review first published in Midwifery Today Issue 99, Autumn 2011, © 2011, Midwifery Today, Inc. Review by Toni Rakestraw.]

While we may know Robin Lim as a midwife, in this work of biographical fiction, she brings to life six generations of family as she explores the human condition and what it means to live with bigotry, war and love.

Butterfly People is, quite literally, one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever read. It follows the Lim family from the late 1800s through today. Getting to peek at the life of a family like this, in the Philippines in their everyday existence, is a gift.

By no means is the Lim family perfect. One kills her abusive husband and later becomes the village midwife, one works the streets, another wants to be a nun. Through it all, however, is woven love, family and tradition. Lim’s writing makes you want to take a closer look at your own life and see the simple joys that are there in abundance.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about families. The narrative is fun and heartwarming. Some chapters of this book brought tears to my eyes, while others made me laugh. Life in the Philippines may be different than here in the US, but there is a lot that is the same. Readers will be able to find many characters and qualities to identify with as they read this charming story.

Reviewer Toni Rakestraw worked as a doula before the demands of her children required her to stay home. Now, she spends her time writing and editing book manuscripts in between interruptions.