‘Butterfly Suicide’ is another fictional take on the subject of school shootings, coming quickly after my reading of ‘Only Child’ by Rhiannon Navin and the autobiographical ‘A Mother’s Reckoning,’ by Sue Klebold. The fascination is of course the many different stories that can be told – of perpetrators, of victims, of extended family friends, and even onlookers. These tragedies affect everyone they touch in some way.
In this story we are briefly introduced to Jude, in a couple of short paragraphs – before we are told he shot seven fellow students on the last day of school year, before being taken into police custody. Of course, the effects echo through time long after the event itself is over. Jude leaves behind him the shattered families of his murdered victims to pick up the pieces and try and live the rest of their lives without their loved one, including the parents and sister, Monica, of Jude’s girlfriend, Simone Monroe, who he was uniformly believed to have argued with shortly before he killed her. He also leaves behind his mother and his brother Stephen, who are persecuted and bullied for Jude’s actions.
Stephen and Monica are unexpectedly thrown together in a drama class at school, and through the fragile beginnings of friendship, an unlikely relationship begins to blossom between them.
Gradually, as they delve deeper into Jude’s motives for his terrible actions, a long hidden secret is revealed; one that Jude couldn’t bear to live with and the result of which was the loss of so many young lives.
This story initially took a while for me to get into as I found the perspective changes a little confusing but once I had sorted it all out, I was hooked and give ‘Butterfly Suicide’ 4 stars.