THE GOLDEN BUTTERFLY by Celia Aily  Carranza

THE GOLDEN BUTTERFLY

My Journey to Heaven on Earth
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

An author and health coach divulges how she overcame abuse and physical and mental anguish to emerge as a strong, compassionate individual.

In her own words, Carranza’s epiphanic debut memoir unfolds “like the plot of a Lifetime miniseries or a telenovela.” And in many ways, it does. She writes frankly about her childhood in Mexico. According to the author, she faced undisciplined sibling abuse at the hands of her older sister while trying to come to terms with a distant mother who “never said the words I desperately needed to hear.” These problems spurred years of deteriorating self-esteem and suicide attempts. Despite the doting adoration of her grandparents and uncle, Carranza felt less than loved. As she matured, her descent into debilitating depression continued after a teenage miscarriage, even while the bond with her father strengthened. The writer’s world crumbled further after her father was brutally murdered at age 43 and she was left with unanswered questions and unprocessed grief well into her adult years. In Carranza’s 20s, while modeling, acting, and carelessly becoming involved with kingpins in the local drug cartel, she entered into what she describes as a seven-year horrifically abusive marriage. Thankfully, she found benevolence and became buoyed by her “Earth angels,” individuals who provided solace, guidance, and unconditional friendship. During the nearly fatal birth of her daughter, the author experienced an extraordinary spiritual vision in which Mary Magdalene appeared before her, reinforcing the message that “if I was strong enough and walked through the fire with love, hope, and faith, I’d make it” and “find Heaven on Earth.”

As she relates in her moving book, this ethereal episode prompted her to finally end her tortured marriage and rediscover happiness despite a barrage of physical challenges that lay ahead, including kidney problems and her daughter’s teenage battle with Hashimoto’s disease. Fighting through the fear and shame of a botched childhood, Carranza finally reached a catharsis and emerged as a wholly complete, if weathered, “lioness,” who, as the title suggests, believed that “our lives are like the life of a butterfly.” She also shares what she has found to be the “keys to Heaven on Earth,” which should be profoundly motivational and inspiring to readers in a similar situation as the author. Suffused with painful vulnerability, her emotionally raw and vividly written narrative is bifurcated between the angst of a melancholic life and the lush, poetic revelations that eventually superseded all the darkness that came before it. The chapters in Carranza’s memoir read like emotionally acute diary entries dictating the ebb and flow of a life overcome by tragedy yet ultimately yielding to the light of a new day with endless opportunities to reinvigorate love, perseverance, faith, and joy.  

Poignant and powerfully affirmative, this account offers an intensive reading experience that should particularly appeal to readers who find themselves unfairly battered by circumstances and the cruel slings and arrows of life.

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-73221-706-5
Page count: 266pp
Publisher: Y-O Management
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2018




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionTHE PRESENCE OF ABSENCE by Doris Grumbach
by Doris Grumbach
NonfictionEVERY WOMAN HAS A STORY by Daryl Ott Underhill
by Daryl Ott Underhill