Book Review: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

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Someone recommended this book to me on Goodreads, so I bought the Kindle Edition. Took me quite a while to finish, but definitely worth it!

The protagonist of the book, which takes place in San Francisco, is Victoria Jones, an orphaned child and later a young woman, who uses the language of flowers to communicate with people. She is a foster kid who, at 9, finally finds a foster mum who actually cares for her well-being and introduces her to the language of flowers. Certain events then take place and Victoria ends up back in foster care until she turns 18. Then, with zero prospects and no hope for the future, she meets Renata the florist who hires her as an assistant, and Victoria slowly begins to turn her life around and evolve into a successful businesswoman and a mother, and develops her skills in communicating by the language of flowers even further.

I do not like labelling books as <insert a genre here>; this book may fall into YA, romance, coming-of-age novel, as well as chick lit. I really enjoyed Diffenbaugh’s writing style and was very impressed with the effort she has put into her research – creating the dictionary of flowers was a really great idea. What I loved the most was Victoria’s fascinating character development – she is such a complex, flawed character who starts off as a lonely, misanthropic soul that resembles a thistle, and gradually develops into a wise, successful woman with a little, unconventional family of her own. What I did not like, however, was the switch between “then” and “now”, akin to the writing style of “Pandemonium” by Lauren Oliver. It was slightly difficult to follow the narrative at times because of the switching – I’d have preferred to read it in a chronological order, with the most important details revealed later. However, I have generally enjoyed the book and have re-read it again last week. My rating is 7/10.

Favourite character and why:

Victoria – she is really well-written and gets so much development.

Most relatable character and why:

Elizabeth – I am also the odd one in the family.

Character who gets the most development:

Victoria – she’s come a long way since the start of the book. She learned a lot about her favourite hobby and turned it into a profession. Not to mention, she actually opened up to people and started her own family.

Favourite relationship:

That’s a toss between Victoria/Renata and Victoria/Elizabeth – initially, they were the only people who accepted Victoria for who she was. Elizabeth was the one who introduced her to the language of flowers in the first place, but Renata was the person who has helped Victoria turn her hobby into a career and made her feel as if she was worth something.

Favourite quote:

“Common thistle is everywhere,” she said. “Which is perhaps why human beings are so relentlessly unkind to one another”

Dreamcast

Victoria: young Natalie Portman is the best pick I can think of; or maybe Jennifer Lawrence

Grant: Ansel Elgort

Renata: Dana Delany

Elizabeth: Michelle Fairley

Recommendations: 

You might like “The Language of Flowers” if you liked:

– “The Time Traveller’s Wife” by Audrey Niffeneger;

– “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green;

– “The Catcher in the Rye” by JD Salinger

(Source of the photo: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12405133-the-language-of-flowers

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