The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, was an enjoyable read for me, capturing the essence of flowers, not only in their physical attributes, but also in defining them.
Within the scope of defining them, lies a story of youth and growth within the foster care system, focusing on the main character, Victoria. Victoria has had a hardened life, being transported from one home to another. When she turns eighteen, she is thrust out of the foster care system, and must learn to tend for herself. She leaves a halfway house in a state of disillusionment and anger, and from there begins the story of her adjustment into society.
Flowers have become a passion of hers, not only for their beauty, but also for their sentiment and meanings. A former foster mother taught her how flowers speak, and how each flower has a message of its own. Each flower, according to Victorian standards, has its own definition, and during the Victorian time period, flowers were given to someone in order to convey a specific message. Victoria finds this concept fascinating, and goes about the task of creating her own project of defining flowers, photographing them, and sometimes drawing them.
I know I am being a bit vague, but in order to encapsulate the story line of The Language of Flowers, without giving it away in its entirety, I have to use less clarity than I might otherwise use.
Victoria manages to find work at a florist, and is able to exercise her creativity to its fullest in arranging flowers to suit a particular emotion, mood or event. She becomes respected and highly regarded. During the processes of creation, she begins to grow emotionally, and slowly begins to understand her background and the choices made by her mother. She also begins to mature within social situations, and is able to handle some of her impulses.
I enjoyed the aspect of reading about flowers and their meanings, and how they were used within the pages of The Language of Flowers, to bring comfort to those who received them, and to those whose life event was enhanced by them. I was fascinated by the logical and emotional definitions of the flowers, and how they related to life. I liked the fact that there is a glossary at the end, displaying the names of flowers and their definitions. Vanessa Diffenbaugh was brilliant in conveying flowers, their meanings, and their illuminations within daily living. Her word images were strong and filled with essences for all of the senses.
The Language of Flowers would make an excellent “beach read”. I would give it three and one half stars, with five being the highest.