Sixteen-year old Katie Anderson thinks she is living the perfect teenage life, with a hilarious and fun family, average grades, a subscription to OK! Magazine, exclusive invitations to all the high-end parties and enough popularity at college to make every other girl want to be like her…that is, until her sensational, divorced father makes a decision that changes her life completely; he accepts Islam. Just a week before college is set to re-open, Katie finds her entire world shifting from beneath her. Engulfed with a mixture of confused feelings, a sudden change in lifestyle, and a desire to battle her way back to normalcy, she begins a monumental search for guidance that will change her life forever…
"Dad! Where have you been? You were supposed to call the minute you got back. You promised," I scolded him over the phone, only seconds after answering it.
He chuckled, "Hey pumpkin, I missed you. I was going to call but...I got caught up with a few things.”
“You’ll know in due time.”
“What,” I asked with exaggerated annoyance, “is up with all this secrecy? First Mark, then mum and now you —”
“Guess what? I've got a surprise for you."
"You know that's not gonna work, Dad. I’m not a child anymore, so stop —”
“Look outside your window.”
“I said look outside —”
“Why?” I interrupted him, turning my body so that I was now facing my bedroom window. I peered at it cautiously, wondering if he’d planted some sort of prank there.
“It’s a surprise,” he sang softly, obviously incredibly amused by the scenario.
“No,” I replied, folding my arms defiantly as if he was actually there, watching me.
“All right, well then...” he drew out his words, sounding surprised, “you’re missing out. Big time.I mean, who knows what could be lurking behind that window —”
“Dad, I am so not falling for —”
“I mean, do I know? Yeah. But do you? Nah, not so much.”
“But then again, that’s just the choice you’ve made. And I’ve got to respect that, even if it means you’re missing out on something irrefutably astounding and unquestionably phenomenal —”
“Oh, come on! Dad, don’t pull out the vocabulary card. That’s not fair —”
“It saddens me to inform you of this, but Katie, my dear, you are a bromide.”
I gasped, “I am not!” Mentally, I was wondering if he’d made up that word or if it actually existed. “I am not a bromide,” I said again with more vehemence, “I am the farthest thing from a bromide,” I continued, pulling a dictionary out from my bookshelf and flipping through it speedily, “if ever there was a person who was a bromide, it would not be me, for I am not a —”
My dad laughed at the other end, “You won’t find it in the dictionary.”
I scowled, “Fine, well then —” and stopped mid sentence as I heard a loud honk outside.
Furrowing my brow, I opened my mouth again, only to be stopped short again by another honk, this time sounding suspiciously as if it was coming from outside my window.
Standing up slowly, I moved curiously towards my window, and pulled back the curtain in one swift move.
“You were saying?” he asked, as I suddenly caught sight of a very familiar red Honda Accord Euro, with my dad seated inside, grinning broadly.
I burst out laughing as I watched him wave at me comically.
“Nice surprise, huh, Katie?”
“Best surprise,” I giggled, “Give me five minutes and I'll be down.”
"No need, I'm coming in. I have to talk to your mum about a few things. Take your time," he replied, stepping out of the car.
"A few things? What?" I asked, impatiently.
"Just need a few words with your mum. Okay, I'm gonna hang up now... because I'm here for goodness sake," he laughed loudly and then hung up.
I smiled to myself and skipped downstairs to welcome him. I reached the bottom of the staircase just as Mark opened the door and my smile slowly crept away as I saw Mark’s face turn livid.
"What are you doing here?" I heard Mark demand, and I instantly slowed my steps.
"I came to get Katie... look, Mark, it doesn't have to be this way. It’s...I...I miss you," my dad said gently, his cheerless eyes resting upon Mark's.
"This is the only way, Dad...Jack. Katie'll be down in a few minutes. You can wait outside," he remarked gloomily, as he began to close the door.
"Wait! Mark, what do you think you're doing?" I asked angrily as I ran up to the front door, pushing Mark out of the way to allow my dad in.
Mark glowered at my dad as he coldly replied, "Don't let him get to you Katie," and stomped out of the room.
"Now, see, that’s someone I’d call a bromide,” I winked, “Don't let him get to you, okay?"
He laughed as he pulled me in for a tight hug, "I missed you so much, Kay."
"It was your own fault for staying in Morocco for six months," I joked, my voice muffled against his shirt.
"Architect Extraordinaire on the job," he grinned, holding me back to look at me. “You’ve grown.”
“You say that every time you see me,” I rolled my eyes.
“No, I mean it —”
"What's going on? I just saw Mark fuming in the living room," my mum inquired as she suddenly walked into the room, a look of surprise on her face as she noticed my dad.
"Oh, you're here early," she said, seating herself onto the sofa.
"Drama, Drama, Drama. Dad needs to talk to you."
"Yeah, there are a few things I need to discuss with you," he added, then taking in my inquisitive eyes, chuckled, "Privately.”
"Oh sure, that's nice. Get rid of me already. I'll be in the living room," I sighed as I went off to question Mark on his strange behaviour.
I was 14, had my head in the skies one afternoon during a car ride home from school, when the plot for ‘Soul of a Butterfly’ hit me. There’s just something about staring blankly out of a window that really gets the mind working, y’know. So anyways, the very minute I reached home, I dashed inside to jot down my ideas, feeling a sense of excitement that I’d never in my entire 14-year old existence ever experienced before. Buzzing with ideas, I hashed out the blurb of the book onto paper. That blurb, to this day, has never largely been changed and is currently present on the back of the book.
My inspiration? To put it simply, high school. The realm of teenagers. Who doesn’t want to be popular in high school? And yet, what if one who had gained that standing, that esteemed rank of ‘Queen bee’, that popularity stamp that is coveted by so many, were threatened? Not by a rival, not by a ‘new girl’, but by the introduction of something unfamiliar, taboo and even alien to some – Islam. Just the thought of delving into a life seen as ‘perfect’ and shaking its foundations to the core intrigued me and drew me in, and before I knew it, I had met Katie Anderson. And the rest was history.
“…a page-turner. Soul of a Butterfly highlights the struggles of youth facing questions of heart and faith.”
I assure you from the moment you pick up the book, till you put it down, you won’t be disappointed. ‘Soul of a Butterfly’ is a book for both the young and old who are seeking change in their life. It is for those who have hope for a better tomorrow and those whose life has no purpose and no direction…”
An excellent read with lots of exciting twists and turns. I couldn’t put the book down, looking forward to the sequel!!
This was such a beautifully written book and a real page turner. I cried, laughed and gasped! Such a wonderful and original story.
While the story is humorous and lighthearted, it also addresses serious and compelling issues such as the purpose of existence and comparative religious theologies…This story will undoubtedly captivate teenagers and remind many others of the immense blessing of Islam.
Wonderfully written story of a girl and her journey to find inner peace.
Lovely story. It made me want to convert yet again.
Incredible. This book completely surpassed my expectations. It is well written, funny, engaging and is sure to make you cry multiple times throughout. I highly recommend this book to anyone, and it will now proudly sit on my All-Time-favorite books shelf!
Cannot wait to read more from Safaa Baig!