The Butterfly Tattoo Paperback – 8 May 1998
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Philip Pullman is a highly acclaimed author of books for young people. His Dark Materials: Northern Lights won three awards in 1996; The Firework-Maker's Daughter won the 1996 Smarties Gold Award and Clockwork was shortlisted for the Whitbread Book of the Year 1997. The Butterfly Tattoo is an engrossing and agonising thriller. What starts out as an apparently harmless holiday job for 17-year-old Oxford 'A' level student Chris Marshall, slowly but surely turns into something quite other. Unhappy and traumatised by the break up of his parents' marriage, things start looking up for Chris when he falls in love with the beautiful, emotionally bruised Jenny. But then his boss's dangerously shady past slowly but surely starts catching up with him and before he knows it Chris has become the innocent cause of death and disaster. An ingeniously plotted, simply written and grippingly readable thriller which involves the reader in deep questions about the nature of innocence, criminality and social responsibility. --Tamsin Palmer
A tense, romantic thriller by one of the world's greatest children's writers. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The opening line leaves you in no doubt that this is another emotional page-turner set in one of Phillip Pullman’s many beautiful Oxfords’.
The Butterfly Tattoo, set in modern Oxford, tackles difficult issues through a story of love and innocence. The storyline is a little predictable but it allows you to focus on the key points being explored through the main characters, modern issues such as divorce, abuse and mistrust.
It’s not fighting for the top spot in my book collection but it definitely is a must read for Pullman fans.
In any case, the book is good, not a lasting masterwork of fiction, for that the end is somewhat unpolished - but I should note that that is only in comparison with his brilliant later work. It is definitely worth reading.
The book is a basic teenage/'young adult' first-love (or lust?) story, although having said that, I haven't read anything else aimed at this market. I borrowed this short novel from a library, and was suitably glad that I didn't buy it; while being a decent enough read, it is mostly cold - even the vaguely romantic scenes are delivered emotionlessly. I remember (it was a while ago) the feeling that Pullman was rattling through the plot, avoiding detail or description, which wasn't a favourable approach for a story of this kind. Also, the 'intriguing' plotting towards the end (after the relationship portion) was quite bland - not that the events themselves were uninteresting, more so that the writing engendered little suspense.
I think this was Pullman's first novel - forgive me if I am incorrect - and therefore I imagine he was still finding his feet in fiction before his truly extraordinary work, like 'His Dark Materials'. If you are interested in Pullman, after his magnum opus, you could try this novel for something a little different - but I wouldn't recommend purchasing it. See if they have it in your library, or don't bother.
The story revolves around two young people, Chris and Jenny, who fall in love but are separated by fate soon after. They try to find each other again, but – as it is announced in the opening sentence of the book – it ends with the tragic death of Jenny.
Because of the first sentence, I knew it was a tragedy, and to spare my feelings I tried not to get too involved with the main characters, but it was impossible. Their budding love, their doubts about what the other is feeling, their aching for each other and their vulnerability are described with such sensibility and delicacy that I couldn’t help slipping into Chris’ and Jenny’s heads and hoping, against all odds, that they would find each other again.
It is an extremely sad story, not only because of the untimely death of the young girl. I knew from Pullman’s other books that he doesn’t shun death and sorrow, but The Butterfly Tattoo is much darker and more pessimistic. It is comparable to The Amber Spyglass in its theme (the Fall of Man) and ending (the irrevocable separation of the young lovers), but the tone is completely different. The Fall in the Amber Spyglass is a beautiful discovery: the main characters fall in love for the first time, and the person acting as the “Snake” is a brave, kind woman who loves them both. The final separation, although emotional and heart wrenching, is also a necessary condition for both characters to live a full life.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My daughter is 10 and is an avid reader. I borrowed this book from the library as I have read The Dark Trilogy and think Pullman is an excellent writer. Read morePublished on 9 May 2014 by HPearce
Fans of Pullman's trilogy should receive a fair warning before moving any further. This is not Lyra's Oxford, this is our Oxford so expect thugs, sex, crime but also love, trust... Read morePublished on 19 May 2008 by Ford Ka
This is one of the best books i have EVER read for ages! i have never read these kind of books that are love story and very affectionate and emotional,but it really woke something... Read morePublished on 29 Nov. 2006 by Dani
Both "The Butterfly Tattoo" and "The Broken Bridge" are decidedly avarage books, which is pretty much all there is to say abou them. Read morePublished on 3 Oct. 2006 by Wrecky World
i read his dark materials before this, and then went to investigate other pullman books. however this is not to the same standard as the trilogy. Read morePublished on 6 Jun. 2006 by cait