Jeannette's Reviews > The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
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's review
Oct 04, 2011

really liked it
Read in October, 2011

This "review" forces me to think about the five star rating system. Since a number of stars reflects my own personal assessment then I need to be honest about how I feel about a book. Here is a chance to define my rating system: five stars means that the book is fascinating, readable, attention holding, has a plot, well defined characters and is well written, lyrical or poetic even. One star means I should not have read the book, why did I bother? But I did and it was good enough to finish(or skip to the end). Three stars means that not only did I read the book, I liked it, but something was missing in order to extol its virtues.

In the case of The Language of Flowers, I loved the idea of the book, messages sent with flowers. The book is a romance and as such, the characters were all well defined but just a bit unbelievable. Why was such a horrid, aggressive, uncommunicative, misfit like the "heroine" tolerated, let alone loved by people who hardly knew her (about one year of acquaintance)? How could they be so devoted when the side they saw of her was mostly bad and her misdeeds were plentiful? The plot was cleverly done, weaving together the few skills the girl had and her destiny in flowers. But the plot felt contrived too what with the tolerant flower seller, the pregnancy and hiding out in the park then the ugly apartment. The heroines emergence as a potential butterfly after years of caterpillaring existence didn't ring true. Her inner growth and blooming needed more development in the story. Her lover man's devotion was really a puzzle - she was so awful to him.

I wanted more about the flower language throughout the book; the author gave us a bit but I wanted lots more. Also the descriptions of places were were not evocative enough to give me a real sense of time and environment. This was partly because place references were overburdened with details about feelings and behavior - mostly of the "heroine". It was interesting that there wasnt very much about current events - this created a sense of timelessness, probably intended. The story revolves totally around just a few people. This is a fascinating and desperate tale of one orphan's struggle to survive adjust and blossom. Fine, and the story achieved that. I liked the book but I cannot recommend it to all wholeheartedly and cannot give it a five. Sorry Vanessa and Victoria (and why didnt you give her a flower name?)
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Reading Progress

03/24/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Daniel Hmmm.. I get where you coming from on your room, but, sweet neighbor, I must disagree! I didn't find our heroine unlikable; I just found her mighty, mighty guarded, due to all that rejection she faced as a wee lass. I thought she definitely had insight into people and relationships (as evidenced by her flower magic), but she just couldn't' show it externally.

And I bought her love story with the boy. I thought they had a believable connection via their moms, and I felt like they felt connected to their past through each other.

Anyway, I read your review and thought, "Wow, Jeanette is right! I agree with everything she said!" And then I thought about the book a little more and realized that it hit me differently than it did you.

Unrelated: You're the best neighbor!

Jeannette ah ha, you have revealed yourself dear book buddy! You are a true romantic. I love it that you could put yourself into those characters so thoroughly, so empathetically and emphatically. I stand aside in awe and appreciate our differences and views of not only human nature but the writing about it.
Your ever so slightly and not at all emphatically, curmudgeonly - nay. skeptical - neighbor,

Andrea Nash It's the most unlovable that need love the most! Those that embraced her saw themselves in her and knew the potential that she carried. Thank goodness for those who reach out to the "unlovable" for with love they have a chance to blossom! : )

message 4: by Pat (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pat Simons I'm reading it now and finding it interesting, but I'm up to the place where Eizabeth tells Victoria she loves her after Victoria has stuck cactus spines in Elizabeth's shoes. I'm incredulous already...

message 5: by Pat (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pat Simons Nah. I can't finish it. I don't buy the main character, as much as I'd like to.

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