The Caged Butterfly, published by L. B. Publishing, a novel copyright and written by Marian L, Thomas.
The story is presented in three parts, the First follows the life of a young black girl who had been in a sincerely loving relationship with an equally young white boy. Because it was thought best by the boy’s parents and the girl’s mother she is whisked away to Chicago from the small Georgia town. The boy does not know she has become pregnant and the girl learns just before giving birth that her heart probably will not survive the process. She writes a letter for her unborn child asking that he/she blame no one and not to generate any hatred. She gives birth and as suspected does not survive. The next part follows the life of the child who is male, adopted by a wealthy couple as the totally white child he appears to be, only to be discovered a couple of years later because of faulty adoption agency records to be black. The discovery makes no difference to the husband but severely affect his southern-born wife who heaps all types of abuse on the child until he moves out of the house when reaching his legal age. During his growing years he is raised by a black Nanny who is recommended by a woman who knows her well but not her undisclosed relationship with the child. She is responsible almost literally for the child’s survival and when he decides to leave persuades a jazz playing relative to take him to New York and attempt to get him a job as a musician. The boy is a superb pianist, is hired to play and becomes famous, especially because of his ability as a white person to beautifully perform jazz and soul music with the distinctive ‘feel’ of a black musician. Suddenly he learns he actually is black, cannot withstand the backlash all with disastrous results. Meanwhile, he had fallen completely in love with a singer at the club and unknowingly had impregnated her. The third part of the story follows the life of the little girl who is the result of the loving relationship.
Discussion: Although the book’s introductory material lists suggested short reference titles to be looked for as 1. Women’s – Fiction. 2. Romance – Fiction 3. Domestic – Fiction, the reader gains an immediate sense of being introduced to something unique with a deeply thoughtful theme existing just below the surface. Not only is this thought substantiated, but actually strengthened as one continues to read. The tale begins with a prologue that contains a letter from the protagonist of the first part of the story that begins “To the child inside me” and sets forth the first activity of the book as well as portending much of the subsequent action and the importance of her letter on succeeding family members. Her words actually well explain the substance and theme of the story. “Inner beauty and intelligence, that’s what makes a woman.” But not knowing the gender of the child to be born, she also says “If I could give you one piece of advice, I’d tell you this – love the skin you’re in. Believe in inner beauty. Even a man has it.” Also, if you don’t believe this “you ain’t nothing but a caged butterfly.” So “Don’t prove my dream a lie. Don’t be a caged butterfly”.
Conclusion: From this reviewer’s perspective, the single error the author has made in this book is to suggest short listing be confined to “Women’s Romance Fiction/Domestic Fiction”. This is a most stimulating and compelling presentation to initiate thoughtful introspection by any male or female of any race, color or creed.
5* Highly recommended for any male or female of any race, color or creed.