According to Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, a gadfly is “an insect that goads or stings cattle, as a horsefly. A person who annoys or irritates others.” Supposedly, the Greek philosopher Socrates was a gadfly because he irritated others by causing them to analyze their thought processes. Inevitably, analysis revealed errors of not only reasoning but conclusions – mental boo boos. Rather than rejoicing over their newfound enlightenment, people became upset. People don’t like being told they are wrong or stupid or illogical. So they began avoiding Socrates like the plague, along with talking about him behind his back, saying nasty things about him. But Socrates didn’t care. He considered it his duty to be an irritant, a gadfly. So he kept doing it. In the end, he annoyed so many people so much that they decided to do something about it. It wasn’t pleasant.
Jesus was a gadfly too.
So is the protagonist of Brushstrokes of a Gadfly, a wonderful, walloping novel by E.A. Bucchianeri. Katherine Walsingham is the star of Brushstrokes. She is beautiful, talented, intelligent, sensual, and comes from an affluent, well-bred family in New York City. Kat’s only flaw is that she enjoys stirring the pot. She doesn’t believe in going along to get along. Thus, she utilizes her art to cause viewers to re-evaluate their conclusions about religion, cultural traditions, nuclear power, women’s rights, government corruption, and the true definition of freedom. Naturally, Kat receives lots of attention, while at the same time annoying lots of people, people who prefer the status quo to remain stationary.
The pedantry of Katherine is obvious, as she tries to set the world to rights. What’s funny is that while Kat is busy being a gadfly, the pedantry of Life wiggles in and disrupts Kat’s vision for her future. Determined to eschew romantic entanglements because of their destabilizing effects, Kat unexpectedly finds herself falling in love with one of New York’s most eligible bachelors. Because of a peculiar combination of circumstances – Kat’s reluctance, her paramour’s family, and gossip – the romance appears headed for disappointment.