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The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns (edition 2012)

by Margaret Dilloway

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1693070,359 (3.75)6
Member:gypsysmom
Title:The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns
Authors:Margaret Dilloway
Info:Putnam Adult (2012), Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:California, rose-growing, kidney disease, niece, teaching

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The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway

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Thirty-six year old high school biology teacher, Gal (Galilee) Garner works hard to breed a prize-winning rose in her spare time. She also manages to fit in overnight dialysis every other night due to chronic kidney disease. Already a two time recipient of donor kidneys, Gal is once again on the waiting list for another. Into this tightly scheduled life crashes Riley, Gal’s fifteen year old niece, whom she hasn’t seen in years. Her mom, Gal’s estranged sister, has accepted a contract job in China; she would like Riley to live with her aunt in the meantime. Minor detail that she didn’t tell Gal about it.

Gal is not the nurturing type. She is intelligent of course, independent; but she can also be bossy and self-centred. She has as many opinions as a rose has thorns; and they are generally about as benign. Can Gal adapt to Riley’s presence in her life? Can she be responsible for anyone other than herself? Will the crotchety, sick relative transform into an affectionate, healthy Auntie? Will she become a better teacher and friend? THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS is too realistic (mostly) to handle Gal’s story in a sappy Hallmark way.

Interesting for the insights about a person living with kidney disease mirrored with the biology of rose breeding. Recommended to readers of novels focusing on family relationships. ( )
  julie10reads | Mar 22, 2016 |
Margaret Dilloway made a rod for her own back in creating a character as difficult as Gal. Yet, a couple chapters in I began to appreciate her and, eventually, pull for her. Nothing short of a miracle because this woman is a porcupine.

And that's the beauty of this book. Every character and every situation felt immediate and real. I never doubted anything I read, and I'm a skeptical reader. From the art of rose breeding to the trials of dialysis to the care and feeding of a truculent teenager--all of it delivered in a confident, direct voice that carried the story beautifully.

Dilloway's an accomplished storyteller with insight and compassion. I'm putting her other books on my list.

( )
  SonjaYoerg | Oct 1, 2014 |
I’ve just finished ‘The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns” by Margaret Dilloway, who also wrote “How To Be An American Housewife”, published by Berkley.

When I started this book, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. The story began with a sort of lesson on how to breed roses. I suppose that’s because the main character of the story has high hopes of breeding a special rose that will be considered for propagation by the National Rose Society. This hobby of the science teacher Galilee Garner is her life; that, and the continued treatment of her kidney disease by going to dialysis every other night. Her life becomes more complicated by the arrival of her niece, the daughter of her estranged sister. The novel then becomes the story of their efforts to live together in harmony. They also find that they need each other. Galilee Garner learns some lessons herself, along with the subject she teaches.

I had a hard time with this book. There was so much text devoted to the propagating of her special rose and I really was not into this. My aunt would LOVE this book…she plants only the best roses in her gardens.

I was sent this free print book from NightOwlReviews.com in return for my honest review.

You can find this review on my blog at http://wp.me/p2pjIt-7W. ( )
  SilverShrew | Feb 20, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I'm finally getting around to reviewing this one and am pleased to report this was a very enjoyable read. Dilloway has a great way of developing a character that leaves you wanting more. I also now want to plant a rose garden. I will look forward to more from this author. ( )
  Danean | Jan 27, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
An ill, lonely high-school teacher/hobby gardener aunt and a lonely, damaged, sullen teenage niece find their lives intersecting when they least each least expect or want it.

Galilee Garner (Gal for short) suffers from kidney disease, which makes her life physically difficult and also affects her emotional outlook. She considers herself as “difficult and obstinate” as the roses she passionately cultivates. Riley, the teenage niece lands on her doorstep unannounced. Her mother has simply sent her to stay with her aunt while the mother heads off to a job halfway around the world. Riley’s sense of abandonment, her loneliness and difficulty coping with her academic/social high-school life means that she’s not the easiest teenager to deal with either. Both of them have to learn to work with each other, and fit their lives around the other.

Initially, Gal is a difficult character to like; she is probably even more “difficult and obstinate” than she describes herself to be. However, in learning to cope with Riley, Gal begins to change, and the development of her character is one of the best things about this book.
1 vote sangreal | Jan 8, 2014 |
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Epigraph
Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses.
- - Alphonse Karr
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To Deborah, for the inspiration

To Keith, for the faith
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Thirty-six-year-old biology teacher Gal Garner's regimented life will never be the same after her estranged sister's teenage daughter Riley arrives one afternoon unannounced.

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