Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Language of Flowers; Vanessa Diffenbaugh



Title: The Language of Flowers
Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Publication Year: 2011
Publisher: Random House
Edition: eBook and Audio Book
Source: Net Galley and Library Audio
Reader: Tara Sands (very good)
Date Completed: 11/7/2011 
Rating: 4/5
Recommend: yes

 The Language of Flowers tells the story of  Victoria Jones, who by the age of nine had lived in over thirty different foster homes.  She's described as "detached and quick-tempered", but because of her experiences within the foster care system, she is just mistrustful of everyone she meets and thus prefers to be alone.  At the age of eighteen she is "emancipated", (pushed out) of the foster care system to fend for herself.  With no place to go, she sleeps in parks at night and even plants a small garden for herself there. By day she lives, lives on the streets and finishes the leftover food left by people in restaurants.

She manages to find a job in a local flower shop where her talent quickly really shines through. She is perfect selected just the right flower for the customers depending on various situations, and her ability has the capacity of changing lives for some. One vendor of the flower shop, gets Victoria to confront the painful experiences of her past. The Victorian language of flowers is used to convey meaning of various flowers, and through flowers Victoria is able to communicate her feelings and what others are feeling as well.

The Language of Flowers was a very good debut novel. Victoria was one of those characters that you couldn't help rooting for. I found myself hoping her adult life would make up for her lousy childhood. I liked the short chapters which alternated from the past to the present.  It was easy to get wrapped up in her story, and it was easy to see why she was so afraid to trust and experience love for the fear of being abandoned or hurt once again.  I did find parts of the story to be a bit contrived and after a while all on the constant references to flowers and their meanings became a bit much for me.

Readers who enjoy stories with the power to transform lives and stories of second chances will most likely enjoy this novel. I read both the eBook and the audio version, which was read by Tara Sands who did a great job.

20 comments:

  1. One of the members of my book club works in foster care. She read this book and enjoyed it and has suggested it for a book club pick.

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  2. The title of this one instantly attracted me, Diane - it certainly sounds worth trying.

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  3. I like these life transforming stories especially where people survive against tremendous odds. This will be one for me.

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  4. YOur review clinches it...I'm reading this one!!

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  5. I so want to read this. Every review I have read of it so far has been positive.

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  6. I also enjoyed this book very much. My review is here: http://wordsandpeace.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/73-review-the-language-of-flowers/. Emma

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  7. I keep wanting to read this one as I work in a group home for teenagers in foster care - the concept sounds really cool. Thanks for the lovely review!

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  8. This is one of those books I've been wanting to read. It sounds wonderful and I am so glad to hear you enjoyed it so much!

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  9. I think I have to read this again. Victoria kind of drove me crazy, especially at the end, but I *did* like all the flower stuff! :--)

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  10. I can't imagine growing up that way … with no real "home" or family to call your own.

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  11. I haven't read a bad review for this book. It's on my list.

    Great review - I love it when I read your reviews and want to read the book immediately.

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  12. Just finished this book...very satisfying read.

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  13. I liked this book a lot. It was one of my favorites this year. I got a little frustrated with a few of the things Victoria did and the ending wrapped up a bit too neatly but I still enjoyed the story.

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  14. I am looking forward to this one. I seem to have had it for ages and every review of it has been brilliant.

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  15. I will be reading this one soon, and have been eager to get started with it for some time. Perhaps this week would be the perfect time! Great review, I am glad that you loved it!

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  16. This one sounds so interesting! Originally the title and cover did little to entice me, but hearing about the story swayed me. I love to discover good debuts too. Thanks!

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  17. I got this from Net Galley so it's on my list to be read soon. I tend to like stories like this one so I am hoping to love it.

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  18. I just got in line at the library for this one!

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  19. I enjoyed the book, but it was hard to read at times - imagining that children are actually raised that way made for tough going. But I loved the ending and the overall message.

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  20. I still haven't got to this book, but all the reviews so far have been very positive.

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