The Butterfly Hours: Transforming Memories into Memoir

Patty Dann
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Nov 16, 2016

In The Butterfly Hours, Dann uses “one-word memory triggers like ‘table’ or ‘car’ . . . as a way” for students, and eventually herself, “to stitch together the patches of [their lives].” Some of the stories shared are those of her students, some are her own. All are beautiful.

The reading could have gone quickly, but I saved and savored the chapters. Assignments are listed at the end of the book and a photocopy of them now rests in the cover of my journal.

Much like Abigail Thomas’ Thinking About Memoir, Dann illustrates how surprising we can be to ourselves. But we don’t have to take her word for it. Try an assignment for yourself.

Reviewed by Helen H.
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