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The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa…
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The Language of Flowers: A Novel (edition 2011)

by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,0513321,858 (3.97)1 / 172
Member:mirrani
Title:The Language of Flowers: A Novel
Authors:Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Info:Ballantine Books (2011), Edition: 0, Kindle Edition, 338 pages
Collections:Kindle, Read but unowned
Rating:
Tags:fiction, foster care, homeless, California, WTR

Work details

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Recently added byNylesClaire, lorrainemtz, plantm7, Rena37, critterbug, private library, CMDH5
  1. 50
    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: 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 (327)  Dutch (3)  German (3)  Italian (2)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  All (337)
Showing 1-5 of 327 (next | show all)
I really liked this book; the story was very creative and the writing style suits the story. It is the story of Victoria, a young woman who spent the bulk of her childhood in the foster care system before becoming emancipated at age 18. At times she is homeless, starving and always she is afraid to love and trust anyone else, particularly herself. Throughout the story she faces many challenges and the description of her pain and her joy is poignantly done. The title of the book refers to Victoria's love for flowers and the meanings assigned to them in Victorian times; the floral themes are woven throughout the story to form a rich tapestry. It's a lovely book that is worth savouring over a cup of chrysanthemum tea. ( )
  LemonyT | Apr 21, 2017 |
Insightful and compassionate. Diffenbaugh masterfully switches back and forth in time without confusing the reader and making you want to read “one more chapter” late at night to see how things will transpire. You will root for Victoria as she gets her life together, but more often want to shake her by the shoulders again and again and shout “NO, no, no bad decision!” Many of her actions and thoughts are frustrating, but always you can understand what warped her and why she does what she does. Ultimately she learns when to take a risk. ( )
  CindaMac | Mar 26, 2017 |
A page-turner that kept me hoping; the ending was rather neatly wrapped up...which is not usually my preference, yet is a relief. The story delves into the emotional complexity engendered by the foster care system. The protagonist allows the reader to feel how hard it is for a traumatized deprived child to ever allow closeness or touch into their lives. The Victorian meaning of flowers is woven throughout as a framework of non-verbal (even invisible) expression - this is beautiful and informative. When children are not allowed verbal expression, they find non-verbal means well into adulthood. This is often seen in attachment to animals; interesting to see it expressed here in flowers. ( )
  lgaikwad | Mar 11, 2017 |
A nice story about a young woman with a troubled youth intertwined with communicating through flowers and their various meanings. There is some romance, but the theme resonates more on family. I liked the book for the most part, but I felt a little disappointment in the main character's inconsistencies. ( )
  niquetteb | Feb 23, 2017 |
Donation Lorraine Y. February 2017. Book no: 2387
  LibertyBookClub | Feb 12, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 327 (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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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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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)

(summary from another edition)

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