• Butterfly

  • From Refugee to Olympian - My Story of Rescue, Hope, and Triumph
  • By: Yusra Mardini
  • Narrated by: Lameece Issaq
  • Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (72 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Butterfly is an inspiring audiobook about how one woman saved fellow refugees from drowning - and how she went on to become an Olympic swimmer. 

When young Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini realized her boat's engine shut down as she was traveling from Syria to Greece with other refugees, there was no hesitation: She dove into the water. Surfacing, she heard desperate prayers and sobbing from the passengers in the sinking boat above her. Between the waves, her elder sister, Sarah, screamed at her to get back on the boat. But Mardini was determined. She was not going to let Sarah do this alone. 

Grabbing the rope with one hand, she began kicking up the black water, inching the boat toward the distant shore. This bold act of bravery saved the lives of a boatload of refugees heading to Turkey from Syria. After her arrival in Greece, Mardini, focused and undeterred, worked toward a lifelong goal: to compete in the Olympics. She succeeded, and competed in 2016 on the Refugee Olympic Team in Rio de Janeiro. 

Butterfly tells her story, from Syria to the Olympics to her current work with the UN as a goodwill ambassador. Mardini is eager to tell her story in the hopes that listeners will remember that refugees are ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, chased from their homes by a devastating war.

©2018 Yusra Mardini (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"War, for all its atrocities, is punctuated by instances of unfathomable human spirit and grace. Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini’s story is a prime example. Butterfly recounts this Syrian refugee’s extraordinary tale of bravery, survival, and winsome, never-give-up moxie. It is impossible not to be won over by Yusra, who once swam for her life at sea and is now fighting for the dignity and wellbeing of countless refugees like her whose lives have been upturned by war." (Khaled Hosseini, number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns)

"Part coming-of-age story, part sports narrative, part migrant journey, Mardini's book is cinematic even as it is deeply intimate and rooted in place." — New York Times Book Review  

What listeners say about Butterfly

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Boring

I picked this book in a book club. The title of course caught my attention, yet here I am, letting it go unfinished. Life is too short to read boring books.

I admire Mardini's persistence and her resilience. Her story is truly inspiring, but she obviously is a much better swimmer than a writer. She's good with words, I admit, but the narrative was too monotonous, telling the story in excruciating detail rather than showing it to readers. This could've been a captivating story.

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A rollercoaster of emmotions, amazingly performed.

The story is breath taking, the emotional rollercoaster will have you crying, cringing, laughing and full of hope. A wonderful performance by the narrator, perfect pronunciation in English and other languages. A true story of hopes, dreams, torn lives and separation. Had to binge it across several days it is a tough reality to come to grip with. Thank you Yusra Mardini and Sara Mardini for sharing this important message with the world!

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  • Bader Al Filakawi
  • 12-18-20

Inspiring

Love it!! Myself and my kids listen to it every time we're in the car