Mini Review: The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting

Format Read: Audiobook (narrated by the author)

Rating: 4.5 

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As a young girl who never quite felt like she knew how to fit in, the character of Luna Lovegood fascinated me. When I heard that the actress who played her, Evanna Lynch, had written a memoir, I knew I needed to read it. Then I forgot about it for a while, until Tom Felton’s memoir came out and I suddenly recalled he wasn’t the first child actor from those films to pen their story. 

A brief content warning before we continue: given the subject matter of this memoir, some mentions of eating disorders will follow. 

Evanna’s journey from struggling with an eating disorder to playing Luna in the films has been highly mythologized, and I was eager to hear the story from her own perspective. Quite predictably, it’s much more complicated than the media has painted it.

The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting is a dark and often difficult memoir, as Lynch herself warns readers in the book’s introduction. She takes us with her into the depths of her eating disorder, the dark and cruel thoughts it sparks against herself, her family, and the medical staff at treatment facilities. Certainly, be wary of content warnings when approaching this one. 

That said, I appreciated the honesty and transparency with which Lynch tells her story. She doesn’t pull punches to make herself look better, and I felt I got a clearer picture of what it’s like to truly live in the depths of anorexia. Her writing is captivating as she takes us through the onset of her disordered eating, several spouts of attempted treatment, and eventual recovery. I found myself wanting to just wander about listening to this book. 

It is much more of a memoir about growing up and struggling with self-worth than it is about her time on the set or her pen pal relationship to the author of the Harry Potter books. However, there is some insight into her life on set and how she felt about portraying a character she admired so greatly. 

In all, The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting is a powerful and well-written memoir, one which I think is worth reading for anyone who is able to approach stories about these kinds of challenges without being overly triggered.