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The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa…
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The Language of Flowers: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

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2,7643162,118 (3.98)1 / 163
Member:5XGrand
Title:The Language of Flowers: A Novel
Authors:Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Info:Ballantine Books (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

  1. 40
    The Language of Flowers: a Miscellany by Mandy Kirkby (guurtjesboekenkast)
  2. 10
    The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (KatyBee)
    KatyBee: Excellent writing, main female character has a very unique 'gift'.
  3. 10
    Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline (tangledthread)
    tangledthread: Similar story of a young woman aging out of the foster care system.
  4. 00
    How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr (treadsowell)
  5. 00
    Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses: A Memoir 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 (312)  Dutch (3)  German (3)  Italian (2)  Finnish (1)  All languages (321)
Showing 1-5 of 312 (next | show all)
Flowers can mean many thing to different people but sometimes they may be the only way for someone to communicate. This, we quickly discover, is the only way 18 year old, homeless, Victoria is comfortable communicating.

We meet Victoria as she is being given what her foster sponsor says is her “last chance” (which we soon learn isn’t the first time she has said that). Victoria has recently turned 18 and as a result of the foster care system is headed to a halfway home where she is given 4 weeks free rent, after that she is on her own. Victoria, in her quiet quirky ways, wastes those days away stealing flowers from neighbors gardens and planting them in milk containers (the only food she has bought) and finds herself homeless, with just a small garden she has made for herself in one of San Francisco’s public parks.

The book jumps back from Victoria’s current story to her past and her most impactful foster home with Elizabeth. As past and present reveal themselves to us, we start to learn why she has an affinity for flowers and why they mean so much to her now. This makes it a captivating read as you are always waiting to see what went wrong and how she ended up where she is.

There is a lot of lack of emotion in the characters in this book, there are times that I just don’t think Victoria feels anything. Victoria is a tough character to get behind for this reason in particular. When things go wrong for her it is tough to feel emotionally connected to them, because sometimes it feels as though she isn’t. I think this is the way she is meant to be portrayed, just lots of downs throughout her life and she still just survives and keeps going.

The story of her past and the development of her current life get very interesting when they intersect again, and it adds one more wrinkle that keeps you reading. The meaning of the different flowers was a lovely topping on this story, it truly interested me and helped create cohesiveness throughout. The Language of Flowers really is a story of something coming out of nothing. Finding love and emotion when previously none existed. Diffenbaugh accomplishes this in a page turning, flower loving fashion. ( )
  afyfe | May 12, 2016 |
This book was lent to me by a friend, and was given to her by a friend as a gift. My friend hadn’t read it yet, and let me as she was busy with something else. I know why her friend gave it to her, it is very fitting.

So, the story, I LOVED IT! In fact, lastnight I read more than I intended to as I needed to sleep early, but I couldn’t put it down. The characters are gave me such an emotional bond, at times I smiled, at others I wanted to yell at the characters! Or cry with them or laugh with them. I really am glad that I read this book, I was not dissapointed. Thanks friend for sharing with me, I am sure you will love it too.
( )
  gma2lana | May 9, 2016 |
Just as contrived, just as predictable, and just as compulsively readable as a Victorian novel. I found myself caring about the characters and being drawn into the story. I read it cover to cover in one evening, and I found that despite its predictability, (continued) http://www.theloopylibrarian.com/book-review-language-flowers-vanessa-diffenbaug... ( )
  TheLoopyLibrarian | Apr 4, 2016 |
The idea of using (and reintroducing the language of) flowers to communicate and bring people together was interesting. It made me want to go out and study the secrets behind them myself, it didn't however, make me want to race through this book. I couldn't find a connection with the main character, Victoria, and found myself more interested in ever other minor character. As a whole, it fell flat. ( )
  mashiaraqcs | Mar 29, 2016 |
Just as contrived, just as predictable, and just as compulsively readable as a Victorian novel. I found myself caring about the characters and being drawn into the story. I read it cover to cover in one evening, and I found that despite its predictability, I wanted the happily ever after. Our book club enjoyed it very much and found ourselves in a lively discussion about the failings in the foster care system. Although a bit unrealistic, it was an enjoyable read. Recommended for fans of Victorian literature. ( )
  TheLoopyLibrarian | Mar 27, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 312 (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)
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vanessa Diffenbaughprimary authorall 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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Book description
The Victorian language of flowers was used to express emotions: honeysuckle for devotion, azaleas for passion, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it has been more useful in communicating feelings like grief, mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen, Victoria has nowhere to go, and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. When her talent is discovered by a local florist, she discovers her gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But it takes meeting a mysterious vendor at the flower market for her to realise what's been missing in her own life, and as she starts to fall for him, she's forced to confront a painful secret from her past, and decide whether it's worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness. "The Language of Flowers" is a heartbreaking and redemptive novel about the meaning of flowers, the meaning of family, and the meaning of love.
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When Victoria Jones starts working for a florist, she realizes her talent with flowers helps her change the lives of the people who buy her creations. But when she must confront her painful past, she has to decide how much she is willing to change.

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