November Book Club Discussion | In the Time of Butterflies

This year, in honor of our March 2014 Women’s History Month speaker Haleh Esfandiari, we will focus on International Feminism and Diverse Women's Life Stories. We have included in our list some classic titles and some less well-known. We are focusing on novels with female life stories.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


Luann Dummer Center for Women

O'Shaughnessy Education Center, Room 103


Free and Open to the Public.

Other Information

Feel free to bring your lunch and/or beverage to the discussion.

It is November 25, 1960, and three beautiful sisters have been found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The official state newspaper reports their deaths as accidental. It does not mention that a fourth sister lives. Nor does it explain that the sisters were among the leading opponents of Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo’s dictatorship. It doesn’t have to. Everybody knows of Las Mariposas—“The Butterflies.”

In this extraordinary novel, the voices of all four sisters—Minerva, Patria, María Teresa, and the survivor, Dedé—speak across the decades to tell their own stories, from hair ribbons and secret crushes to gunrunning and prison torture, and to describe the everyday horrors of life under Trujillo’s rule. Through the art and magic of Julia Alvarez’s imagination, the martyred Butterflies live again in this novel of courage and love, and the human cost of political oppression.

 Patria, Minerva, and María Mirabal became icons of freedom and women’s rights when they were assassinated in the autumn of 1960 for their role in the underground movement against the brutal dictatorship of Dominican Republic’s Rafael Leonidas Trujillo’s regime. The murders of the three women inspired many in the Dominican Republic to denounce the regime publicly and marked the beginning of the end for Trujillo’s reign. In 1999 the United Nations General Assembly designated the date of the Mirabal sisters’ deaths, November 25, as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

In light of this day, and in collaboration with Yarn Tamers, we have crocheted 100+ purple butterflies and turned them into pins to wear throughout the month of November in hopes to raise awareness of International Elimination of Violence against Women.We will be accepting donations for these butterflies and the Luann Dummer Center for Women is matching the donations and we will then donate that entire sum to The Alexandra House, the battered women’s/domestic violence shelter, in Blaine, MN.

Please look out for our purple butterflies or contact the Women’s Center at if you would like to reserve yours today!