“Good writer. Story is a bit harsh, but believable.”Lori Van Trigt wrote this review Friday, August 10, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Although it's only August, I'm confident the the Language of Flowers will be my favourite read of 2012. In first person narration, we learn the story of Victoria Jones. The book opens on her eighteenth birthday. Victoria has been a ward of the state of California since she was abandoned at three weeks of age. Her social worker delivers her to a transition house with $20 and a warning: make a plan and get a job; from here on out you have no one but yourself to blame for what happens in your life.
In alternate chapters, we lean how Victoria builds her adult life. We also learn what happened in her final foster home with Elizabeth, the woman who wanted to adopt her and told Victoria that there was nothing she could do which would make Elizabeth give her back. Since we know that she was not adopted, and that Elizabeth appears to still be alive, the suspense and anxiety builds: what ultimately went wrong?
Throughout the novel, the Victorian era language of flowers is an important part of Victoria's life. She uses it to communicate messages to people who don't understand it, such as the judge who receives a bunch of red carnations ("my heart breaks") at a hearing about Victoria's fate. Where did a wild child like Victoria learn such an arcane skill? From Elizabeth. Elizabeth and her sister inherited and divided up the family farm. While Elizabeth's sister got the flower farm, Elizabeth received the vineyard. The sisters used to use the language of flowers to communicate between them. At the time of Victoria's arrival, the sisters have been estranged for many years. Her desire to make a larger family and circle of support for Victoria, and her realization of the importance of family drive Elizabeth to attempt to reconcile with her sister.
The themes of this novel are the struggles of family and attachments; what it means to be a parent, biological or otherwise; what the costs are in withholding forgiveness; and hope. I found this story beautifully told and incredibly touching. The author herself is a foster mom and has started an organization to support youth making the transition from foster care to adulthood. ”
“led me to order a flower dictionary! :)”Julia King wrote this review Thursday, August 9, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I loved the story, the characters, the setting, and the twists and turns....”Opal Jean Cocke wrote this review Wednesday, August 8, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is a beautifully written book about an orphan who grows up not knowing how to give and receive love. She struggles through life and when she encounters real love, she doesn't know the appropriate way to respond or communicate. However, she does know the language of flowers and how to use them as instruments to convey her messages when words fail her. What appears to be a deficiency turns out to be a gift as she also helps others through their own issues using the language of flowers to guide them.
One of the things I really liked about this book were the characters and the fact that they're all broken people with flaws. This makes them easy to relate with and draws the reader into the story. We all have different problems and we also all have our own way of making sense of a crazy world and getting through life.”
“My favorite fiction book of the year. Not what I had expected, but a wonderful surprise.”Nancy Nutshell wrote this review Monday, August 6, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Interesting book about foster care/homeless girl that learns about flowers and their meanings. At times I wanted to reach my hands into the book and strangle Victoria but given her struggles in life I ended up understanding her and enjoyed the book.”BookwormErin wrote this review Monday, August 6, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Victoria, a young girl has been in and out of foster homes. She mistrusts, rebells, is angry, and fiercely independent. Her love for flowers and their meaning and her giftedness for matching flowers with clients in the florist shop , gradually opens her up to people and relationships. There is a deep, painful secret in her past that she is not able to confront until many years later working as a gifted florist, she sees, through her clients and a vendor, that something is missing. Gradually through strength, love, courage and insight, Victoria is open to being loved and accepted and can confront the demon that she has lived with for years. An encouraging, inspiring, uplifting book that proves again the power of the human spirit in overcoming adversity.”Palm Tree wrote this review Monday, August 6, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“lent to me by the wonderful Sam Bunting”Maggie Johnson wrote this review Sunday, August 5, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Si tratta di un Romanzo adolescenziale sia come target implicito che per i personaggi e il contenuto. La storia e' in se' interessante e scritta abbastanza bene. La mia critica principale riguarda la "morale" del romanzo. Il personaggio principale e' una ragazza/donna che per tutta la sua vita ferisce le persone che le stanno attorno e che le vogliono bene. Certo, ha buone ragioni per farlo, se accettiamo che avere avuto un'infanzia infelice sia una buona ragione per tormentare chi ci circonda e ci ama. Il messaggio che l'autrice ci trasmette e' che se abbiamo avuto un passato difficile allora abbiamo il diritto di ferire gli altri. Se esiste una via d'uscita da questo circolo vizioso, si legge tra le righe del romanzo, non passa attraverso la nostra maturazione e il superamento della nostra identita' di vittima, ma passa attraverso la pazienza infinita e l'amore illimitato e incondizionato di coloro che ti stanno attorno. Qualora chi ci circonda non fosse quel mostro di pazienza e una sorgente di amore illimitato, allora sarebbe giustificato il perpetuare la nostra condizione di dolore ferendo gli altri. In altre parole chi e' stato ingiustamente ferito o maltrattato ha di fatto ricevuto un lasciapassare a vita che lo autorizza a trattare male gli altri facendoli soffrire inutilmente e senza ragione.
Non sono certo che questo sia un messaggio positivo. Certo non aiuta a rompere il loop di violenza che sovente in questi casi si tramanda con grande sofferenze di generazione in generazione. E' mia profonda convizione che siamo tutti responsabili delle nostre azioni, anche quando le condizioni ci sono particolarmente avverse. Assumerci le nostre responsabilita' e' l'unico modo per trasformare noi stesse da vittime a protagonisti della nostra esistenza. Ovviamente il supporto delle persone che ci circondano rimane fondamente per compiere questa transizione.”