Review: “The Butterfly Effect” by Andy Andrews

Let me preclude this review with a disclaimer that I detest “gift” books such as the The Butterfly Effect. They are useless like the little wooden knickknacks my grandmother loves to decorate her house with from ceiling to shag carpet, or the teddy bears who sit on her chairs and couches, taking up any possible seating area for visitors or the occasional friendly cat. Coffee table books, as some choose to call them, can make for a nice gift to a friend “just because” or a pastor at Christmas or a teacher at the end of a school year. But ultimately, if they are read at all, afterwards they sit on a shelf or a side table collecting dust, or hide under the 9-month-old Chatelaine magazine, or show up on the yard sale table of that best friend you gave it to–and never get read.

Ok. Now that I’m off my soap box, with the above in mind, let me say that The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews, was a beautifully laid-out book with a life-changing message to deliver.

It does, however, suffer from its own flaws. What was delivered in 60 pages easily could have been told in 20 or less. (But that’s what you get when you print one sentence per page.) While the message Andrews looks to give is one worth reading and one worth taking to heart, again, the format which the message was delivered, a segmented picture book, takes away from the readability of the stories he tells. Considering I’ve learned the stories from this book are ones he tells on speaking engagements, I can see how such a talk would be uplifting and inspiring. But in this format, it’s lacking.

I also found the book to be somewhat self-serving, repeating what I found in The Boy Who Changed the World, Andrew’s children’s storybook of the same stories: the writing is whole-heartedly, proudly, American. While I can’t knock the feats and accomplishments the people of the USA have attained over hundreds of years, they are less than humble about it–and it’s annoying. While it’s not wrong for Andrews in this book to gush over the USA’s ability to fight WWII in both Europe and the Southern Pacific islands, he seems to celebrate and boast about the sheer population of the States, not the American’s willingness to lend a helping hand to those wrongfully attacked. If he’s proud about the population size of the USA, whoop-dee-doo! This isn’t a big deal in the context of the book; it’s just annoying.

Overall, I’m obviously not the target group of a book such as this, so I digress. I’d rather receive the message Andrews looks to communicate through a simple video, where the passionate emotion of the stories he tells in The Butterfly Effect can be communicated in a way pretty pages cannot do.

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