The Language of Flowers (Paperback)
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books, 4/2012
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.