The Language of Flowers – A Book Review

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh 

Victoria, the main character in this novel, has the gift to understand flowers and the emotions each flower conveys. It is this talent that makes her wanted and in demand during all seasons. People keep queuing up for magical solutions to their problems, for the right flowers chosen by her to be gifted for different occasions and problems. It is incredible how she copes with hardships of life with this knowledge of flowers! She created her own niche to communicate with world and that is commendable!

The novel has four parts, each of them having chapters which alternate between her present (18 years) and past (when she was 10). It pains to read how Victoria is shunted from one foster home to another, how she knows the truth her mother didn’t want her so she was abandoned and also how easily she rattles that out. Life hardened her so much that she was unresponsive to genuine love and affection offered to her and this attitude continues to her present teens too.

At around the age of nine, she is taken in by Elizabeth. She teaches Victoria the language of flowers, home schools her and mothers her to the extent that Victoria almost begins to accept her shedding all her inhibitions. The date for adoption is set but something terribly wrong happens. They part much to Elizabeth’s agony. Victoria spends the next eight years in a group home until the day comes when she is eighteen and has to fend for herself. The novel has mostly women characters and some men too with no specific role.

She is able to relate to a man who walks into her life from her past. He communicates with her through the language of flowers, this brings them closer. It changes the meaning of life for her, but not before she goes through several more conflicts of emotions. Her past mistakes continue to haunt her and she keeps running away from happiness that keeps chasing her.

A child from foster care, having faced so much emotional trauma in life, achieves so much success. The book, no doubt has a ‘feel good’ factor but you also know it is unreal. This truth forces you to think what the children under foster care are actually going through. Some portions towards the end, especially the part relating childbirth (I don’t wish to give the story away) is disturbing, very unpractical and unreal. That frantic desperation of young helpless mother is hard to take.

What I liked best and learned is the meaning of flowers. I will think twice before I present a bouquet to anyone next. The characters can be real, their emotions too and the story is woven well. Her narration is good, elegant and if this is her debut novel, I am eager to read more of her works.

This is part of  book review program with MySmartPrice.

In the story when Victoria decides to start business on her own she makes visiting cards that she can distribute. She chooses the flower ‘Iris’ to be put on the cards. In the language of flowers Iris means good news. For Today’s Flowers I am sharing a picture of Iris I had taken some time back in Rome. Let this bring good news to all !

 

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