Review: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Language of FlowersHeaders
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Published August 23, 2011
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

I read this book in paperback. 

“‘The language of flowers is nonnegotiable, Victoria,’ Elizabeth said, turning away and putting on her gardening gloves… ‘What do you mean, nonnegotiable?’ I asked. ‘It means there’s only one definition, one meaning, for every flower. Like rosemary, which means— ‘Remembrance,’ I said. ‘From Shakespeare, whoever that is.’ ‘Yes,’ said Elizabeth, looking surprised.” p. 63-64

Despite having spent all of her childhood in and out of foster care, Victoria Jones, now 18 and emancipated, is determined to use the only information she’s ever retained, the language of flowers, to create for herself a promising future.

Fox 2000 acquired the film rights to The Language of Flowers back in 2011, but there has been no recent buzz on whether or not this book will become a major motion picture.  (Source)

Having lived in numerous foster homes, Victoria Jones has learned two lessons: how to survive on her own and how to use the Victorian language of flowers to convey emotions.

One of my favorite moments in the book is when Victoria demonstrates these two life lessons. After weeks of living in public parks and nearly starving to death, Victoria is hired by a florist named Renata. One day a customer, intent on winning back the love of his unhappy wife, enters the flower shop, hoping to purchase a bouquet that would help him achieve this. Victoria uses her knowledge of flowers and arranges a bouquet she believes will evoke the emotions this man wants his wife to feel again. And amazingly enough, it works!

Throughout the book, Victoria continues to use the language of flowers not only for the sake of her customers’ relationships, but also to navigate through her own romantic encounters with a childhood acquaintance named Grant. Furthermore, Victoria takes the reader on a journey in which they both discover the, oftentimes, painstaking answers to the following questions: Who am I? Where do I fit in? What is my purpose in life? Am I deserving of love? Am I capable of loving?

The Language of Flowers is dark and heartbreaking at times, but it is also beautiful, poetic and hopeful. In the end, Victoria learns one more significant lesson: real strength lies in vulnerability and accepting help and love when you need it.

Although, at times, I wanted to take Victoria by the neck and shake her because I didn’t agree with the choices she was making, for the most part, I loved this book and I loved Victoria. The Language of Flowers evoked in me a bouquet of powerful emotions: Bellflower (gratitude), Bouvardia (enthusiasm) and Angelica (inspiration).

Vanessa Diffenbaugh is a foster mother herself, who is the founder of the Camellia (my destiny is in your hands) Network. This organization supports youths transitioning from foster care.  (Source)

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