Jenny's Reviews > The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
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Sep 04, 12

bookshelves: 2012-challenge
Read from September 01 to 03, 2012

When Victoria "emancipates" - ages out of the California foster care system at age 18 - she is homeless and hostile after a lifetime of mistreatment and unfairness. Her one skill, and her way of communicating with people, is through flower-arranging, which she learned from Elizabeth, the one foster mother who was ever a real mother to her.

The story alternates between Victoria's present and her past, so that her present behavior is easily understood in the context of her history. In this light, her deep distrust of people and her desire for solitude make sense. Yet of course, the reader is rooting for her to overcome her past, make connections with people again, and use her skills with flowers to help her.

This is a wonderful, deeply empathetic story, and quite informative for a work of fiction; there's a short flower dictionary in the back of the book.

Quotes:

Doing as I was told had never been a guarantee that I would get what I was promised. (38)

Moss grows without roots. His words took my breath away. Throughout a lifetime studying the biology of plants, this simple fact has eluded me, and it seemed now to be the one fact I needed, desperately, to have known. (291) (Moss = maternal love)
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