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The Language of Flowers by Vanessa…
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The Language of Flowers

by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,5283602,218 (3.95)1 / 183
  1. 60
    The Language of Flowers: a Miscellany by Mandy Kirkby (guurtjesboekenkast)
  2. 20
    Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (tangledthread)
    tangledthread: Similar story of a young woman aging out of the foster care system.
  3. 10
    The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (KatyBee)
    KatyBee: Excellent writing, main female character has a very unique 'gift'.
  4. 00
    How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr (treadsowell)
  5. 00
    Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses by Paula McLain (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Like Family is a memoir that traces the difficulties of being a foster child in California. Like The Language of Flowers, it provides readers with a moving account of young girls who triumph over adversity to find happiness as adults.
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English (359)  German (4)  Dutch (3)  Italian (2)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (371)
Showing 1-5 of 359 (next | show all)
Beautiful and unique book with a moving message. Not only is the idea of communicating with flowers intriguing, but the glimpse into the psyche of a girl raised in the foster care system was so enlightening.

I was fortunate enough to hear Vanessa Diffenbaugh speak about the background of this novel while on her book tour, and was so moved by it. I hope to get involved with the Camellia Network, which is the charity she's set up to help young people ageing out of the system who need the support to improve themselves. http://camellianetwork.org/ ( )
  RachelDavenSkinner | Mar 19, 2019 |
I read this book on one summer Saturday, unable to put it down. Chapters alternate between the present and the past, and I wanted to know both what was going to happen next and what had happened in the past. Victoria is a very damaged and unhappy young woman after being abandoned as a baby and a childhood in the foster system. In the past, when she was nine, we see her with a caring faster mother who plans to adopt her, but we know that isn’t going to work out because in the present she is motherless and lonely. She finds work with a florist, and her past and future are linked by her connection to the language of flowers - the meanings that were assigned to them in the Victorian Era. There is a romance, but even more important is the theme of motherhood and family connections. ( )
  Griffin22 | Feb 9, 2019 |
I think this book was probably a bit too long for me and became quite predictable as we moved toward the inevitable happy ending.
This is told in the present and ten years back by our narrator Victoria, a troubled girl who has moved through the foster system unsuccessful. At age 10, she ends up with Elizabeth, who is hard and no-nonsense - but who eventually breaks through Victoria's difficult exterior. But Elizabeth is desperate to reconcile with her sister Catherine and when this doesn;t go to plan, she ruins her plans to adopt Victoria permanently, leaving a furious and devastated Victoria to burn down Elizabeth's beloved vines, making it look like her sister's work. The fire is worse than she expected, ruining Elizabeth's garden - her guilt leads her to sabotage the adoption and end u in care for the next 8 years/
In alternating chapters, Victoria is 18 and released from foster care. She sleeps in a park but ends up working in a florist and slowly builds up money and confidence. But when she realises that a market flower seller is Catherine's son they very slowly start to ave a relationship. Finding herself pregnant, Victoria freaks out and goes into hiding, eventually leaving the daughter with Grant - who had no idea of his existence. She meanwhile sets up her own thriving florist business from an old apartment (a bit unbelievable). Eventually she is predictably reconciled with Grant, Elizabeth and baby.
Read mostly in a hotel in SOuthend ( )
  AHouseOfBooks | Jan 26, 2019 |
I really wanted to like this book as the subject of the language of flowers intrigued me. I wanted to like Victoria and for the book to have a happy ending.
Perhaps it's the fact that I was adopted and that I am now a mother of two, but I just could not like her. She was too self involved, too selfish for that to be possible, especially once she has the baby. ( )
  DebraParmley | Dec 29, 2018 |
Poor Victoria. She bounced around foster homes until she was 9, on her last chance to find a home she found someone wonderful and lost her. She went into a group home and stayed until she aged out at 18.

She has no education, no family, no job, no money and no one that loves her. She's feeling completely alone in the world.
The one thing she has cared for since she was 9 is flowers and what they mean. She longs for a garden with flowers of her own.

She takes steps towards making her dreams happen and crosses paths with some wonderful people, but she is very wounded emotionally and has a hard time letting anyone get close.

There are times when, despite feeling very badly for Victoria, she can still be hard to like.
That being said, I loved everything about what the flowers meant and I thought the ending of the story was happy and good closure.
( )
  Mishale1 | Dec 29, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 359 (next | show all)
At first blush it sounds like something Dickens might have come up with, had Dickens been deeply interested in flower arranging.
 
In this absorbing and delicately wrought debut novel, Diffenbaugh heeds the creative-writing maxim: Write what you know. She has been a foster mother and has taught art and writing in low-income communities.This experience is discernible in The Language of Flowers. The idea that an angry young girl such as Victoria would actually be interested in flowers and their meanings seems implausible on one level, and yet Diffenbaugh uses to good effect the belief that evergreen hope lies nascent within most damaged kids.
 
In the end, she offers a cautionary tale about what happens to kids who've grown without families, one that strives to be honest but still hopeful. Children like Victoria may be able to survive on their own, but in order to do better than that - to thrive - they need support. But it's never too late to learn how to love.
added by Nickelini | editSF Gate, Malena Watrous (Aug 21, 2011)
 

» Add other authors (34 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vanessa Diffenbaughprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rovira Ortega, GemmaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rovira, GemmaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Moss is selected to be the emblem of maternal love, because, like that love, it glads the heart when the winter of adversity overtakes us, and when summer friends have deserted us. 
   — Henrietta Dumont, The Floral Offering
Dedication
For PK
First words
For eight years I dreamed of fire.
Quotations
You can't poison me or give me medicine I don't want. Or hit me — even if I deserve it.
Now, as an adult, my hopes for the future were simple: I wanted to be alone, and to be surrounded by flowers.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Discovering the symbolic meanings of flowers while languishing in the foster-care system, eighteen-year-old Victoria is hired by a florist when her talent for helping others is discovered, a situation that leads her to confront a painful secret from her past.… (more)

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