Taking to task topics of homelessness, adoption, foster kids, mean girls, attachment disorder, a romance, and tying them together with the language and symbolism of flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh has written a book that is a fascinating page turner.
As we read about Victoria Jones, we learn that her mother gave her up and that no one really knows why. She is about to enter a group transition home and then not be the responsibility of the foster care system. We watch her bide her time with no idea what she will do and not look, then leave with only what she can carry, knowing that the other girls in the house are going through her things.
The story easily shifts between her childhood and a long-term stay with Elizabeth, a woman who took an interest in her but who was also absorbed with her own problems, and Victoria’s present where she first starts working for a florist and goes up the scale from day worker to a trusted and loved employee, and the romance between herself at 18 and her boyfriend Grant, Elizabeth’s nephew of whom she’d become aware at the age of 9 when she had lived with Elizabeth. She had a baby with Grant, which provided the fulcrum of the story to bring it to a logical and satisfying conclusion.
The Language if Flowers is a “gentle read.” While it draws you in, it is also a book that you can read, enjoy for a while, set down for a day or two, and because of both its gravity and the information about the flowers which is central to the story, go back to it and quickly get reabsorbed by the intense, likable, and relatable characters.
Beyond the Bear authors Debra McKinney and Dan Bigley
Submitted by fireside@goodbo... on Tue, 03/05/2013 - 6:40pm
04/06/2013 11:30 am
A 25-year-old backcountry wanderer, a man happiest exploring wild places
with his dog, Dan Bigley woke up one midsummer morning to a day full of
promise. Before it was over, after a stellar day of salmon fishing
along Alaska's Kenai and Russian rivers, a grizzly came tearing around a
corner in the trail. Dan barely had time for "bear charging" to
register before it had him on the ground, altering his life forever.
"Upper nose, eyes, forehead anatomy unrecognizable," as the medevac
report put it. Until then, one thing after another had fallen into place
in Dan's life. He had a job he loved taking troubled kids on outdoor
excursions. He had just bought a cabin high in the Chugach Mountains
with a view that went on forever. He was newly in love. After a year of
being intrigued by a woman named Amber, they had just spent their first
night together. All of this was shattered by the mauling that nearly
killed him, that left him blind and disfigured. Facing paralyzing pain
and inconceivable loss, Dan was in no shape to be in a relationship. He
and Amber let each other go. Five surgeries later, partway into his long
healing journey, they found their way back to each other. The couple's
unforgettable story is one of courage, tenacious will, and the power of
love to lead the way out of darkness. Dan Bigley's triumph over tragedy
is a testament to the ability of the human spirit to overcome physical
and emotional devastation, to choose not just to live, but to live