|Now||2022||Previous||Articles||Road Essays||Road Reviews||Author||Black Authors||Title||Source||Age||Genre||Series||Format||Inclusivity||LGBTA||Portfolio||Artwork||WIP|
My Fate According to the Butterfly: 09/23/19
My Fate According to the Butterfly by Gail D. Villanueva is set in Quezon City, Metro Manilla, Philippines. Sabrina or Sab for short sees a huge black swallowtail, which can be a portent of death. She's convinced she will die before her mother returns home from her business trip. She decides to use the butterfly as a sign that she needs to fix her family before it's too late.
Sab and Ate (big sister) Nadine are part of an odd, extended family. Their parents are separated but can't divorce because of Philippine law. So both Mom and Dad have boyfriends and live apart. Their Dad lives with his boyfriend at the resort his mother used to run. Mom's boyfriend, affectionately called Tito (uncle).
Nadine is a reporter and she's working on the current war on drugs under a president whose rhetoric is leading to dangerous police raids and worse, police killings. It's through her sister's research that Sab begins to suspect that her father's absence wasn't because of depression as she's been told, but drug addiction.
My Fate According to the Butterfly is thematically similar to Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish, with a child hoping to reunite with a missing father. That said, Sab and Nadine have kept in contact with their father and his boyfriend, whereas Marcus knows nothing of his father beyond the little his mother has told him.
Also like Marcus Vega, this book sits the road narrative spectrum, albeit as an outlier. Although Sab keeps her butterfly premonition to herself, she does all of her traveling — both literal and metaphorical — with her family. Her primary traveling companion is her sister, but she also includes the man who could be her step-father if divorce were legal, and later, her mother too. Thus, the traveler for this novel is the family (33).
The destination is home, although it's not Sab's current home (66). She's going to her father's home — her ancestral home — which happens to be a resort. But emotionally, it's a home away from home.
The route to home is the Blue Highway (33). Or since this isn't North America, a country road between Quezon City and the resort. I'm making an educated guess from the scene where the family pulls over for Sab's best friend to pee. The road is certainly not a straight shot to the resort.
Put all together, My Fate According to the Butterfly is about a family traveling home for reconciliation via the Blue Highway.