Sunday, July 3, 2011

Review: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Publisher: Picador, Pan Macmillan
Won it on Goodreads
Pages: 324
Genre: Adult, Literary Fiction
My first ARC
To be released in : September 2011


In The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh's powerful first novel, a damaged young woman, Victoria Jones, who can only communicate through the Victorian language of flowers, goes from being homeless to a sought after wedding floral designer.
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 conveying 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 must 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. Beautiful, original and utterly unforgettable, it is set to be the fiction sensation of 2011.

"The Language of Flowers" was not a beautiful story, but like the blurb says "is set to be the fiction sensation of 2011". I know that publishers and authors sometimes get ahead of themselves, but this time they are not wrong. "The Language of Flowers" was brilliant, exciting and unpredictable. It left me wanting more...

The characters in this novel were so intricate and were very different from other characters I have come across in books before. Victoria - the main character- seemed to have an abandonment disorder and possibly Asperges, but was never diagnosed(that i know of) in the story. The writer never talks of this because the novel is in first person and from Victoria's point of view. I think the character was really sad and felt as if everything was her fault.

Also, the novel deals a lot with the issue/s surrounding Foster care/adoption. I have never learned much about the way people live in those situations apart from the movie "Dustbin Baby", so I definitely found it interesting  and new. In the novel there is also an understanding between people who lived that way and a large focus on the idea of motherhood. There are some Mother hen type characters in the novel who all nurtured Victoria in different ways.

I thought the idea of using the victorian language of flowers and plants as a title and as a focus for the character balanced out with some of the unhappy events and made the novel again, more interesting. In the back of the book there is a dictionary of flowers which I thought was cute. The use of the flowers created a nice metaphor for motherhood, like the caption on the cover says "Anyone can grow into something beautiful".

This novel was on the verge of being Magical Realism, because the flowers did affect peoples lives, but I don't think it was fantastical enough to be a part of the genre. I think the Language of Flowers was more of a Literary Symbolism and an obsession of Victoria's rather than a magical occurrence. Because Vanessa was so obsessed with it I think she read more into the effects of the flowers than anything else and didn't realize that it wasn't always the flowers at work. So, I am not totally sure if it is magical realism or not.

Overall I think the novel was worth five stars(5/5) and is definitely worth a read. If you enjoy Magical Realism you will most-likely enjoy this novel. I think this book is going to be as popular as the publishers are saying, so definitely try and get a copy as soon as you can.

-Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffeneger

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1 comment:

Ελλάδα said...
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