Mariposa by Nancy Springer

Mariposa by Nancy Springer
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (11 pages)
Rating Best Books
Reviewed by Astilbe

Aimee believes everything in her life is great. She’s got a boyfriend who’s terrific (in bed and out), a penthouse apartment, and everything else a girl of privilege could possibly want.

Well, except for a soul. That seems to have gone missing somehow.

After a trip to a Warlock Doctor confirms that her soul has indeed vanished, she’s left with two options: buy a prosthetic one, or try to figure out what happened to the original. Feeling that she must have left her first one somewhere where she could find it, Aimee enlists the help of her mother and grandmother in a hunt for the wayward soul. But Aimee’s search for the missing part of her is about to bring forth some long-forgotten memories, and she’s going to learn what it really means to have everything in life that’s really important.

Would you notice the difference if you lost your soul?

From the outside, Aimee’s life is perfect. She has no logical reason for feeling so sad and is quite surprised with Warlock Doctor’s diagnosis. To be honest I wasn’t particularly fond of Aimee before she discovers that her soul is missing because so much of her emotional energy is focused on what she and everyone around her is wearing and whether their outfits make a good impression. Once she began her quest to discover what happened to her soul, though, I quickly grew to like the imaginative and industrious aspects of her personality.

As someone who has vivid, frequent dreams I was fascinated by Warlock Doctor’s beliefs about their origins. Aimee hasn’t had a dream in a decade and she doesn’t seem to miss them. At first this seemed odd to me until I realized it was another symptom of her ailment.

This is a modern day fairy tale for adults. While none of the scenes are necessarily inappropriate for younger readers the message is clearly meant for an older audience. The metaphors in this tale are beautiful and achingly honest, but they are best appreciated by readers who know what its like to lose pieces of their true selves as they stumble into adulthood.

Some stories were meant to be revisited and Mariposa is one of them. I only wish I had discovered it sooner! This is the perfect choice for anyone who has ever looked back into his or her childhood and felt a twinge of regret for not quite growing up to be the person he or she had dreamed about becoming.

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