|Image Credit: Karma-And-Some|
Friends know that I love flowers. I go around trying to photograph flowers, and I fail miserably each time. Nothing you can capture in words or images can really illustrate the strength of beauty in each flower. Why, I even love the common weed! My favorite kind of flowers! The Language Of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh was kindly gifted to me by Vishy, a fellow blogger, who wrote his own review of the book here.
I am still in a strange reading phase. I want to read, and do nothing but read but I find that life puts things in your way and asks me kindly, please tell, me just what will you do? So I have spent these past few days wondering what I should do with all these things laid out - money, freedom, travel, jobs, contentment, or uncertainty? Pick them all, and leave out one? What would you choose? With these thoughts swirling through my head, I began this novel of quiet beauty. Diffenbaugh's debut novel is sparse in dialogue but rich in emotion. Victoria Jones is the narrator here, abandoned at birth by her mother, and then thrust from one foster home to another by the time she turns 18 and then is out on her own. Diffenbaugh uses a parallel time technique, if that is what they call these kind of constructions in creative writing classes, moving from Victoria's past and her present. The past is shrouded in mystery, and the reader is led to believe that there is something that is building up. But what eventually gets constructed made no sense to me at all. And the present is a mass of congealed emotions, all the bloodied emotions that Victoria has bottled up through her childhood, refusing to dissolve and melt, and hampering her relations with her everyone she meets.
Victoria is a damaged individual - one who has to learn to love - and learn to trust herself - and it is through the language of flowers that she begins to do so. The author has worked hard at creating this world, this dictionary of flowers, and interweaving it into her characters' lives.
Relationships are formed tediously in Victoria's world - the figure of the foster mother she was closest to, Elizabeth looms largest in her life, and her shadow casts its long fingers even in her relationship with Grant, Elizabeth's nephew. All of this was fine - and I was intrigued by the premise of the story, especially considering my previously mentioned love of flowers. What I couldn't relate to was Victoria herself. I couldn't connect with her on any level - despite knowing that Victoria would have problems relating to people after years of abandonment, I just couldn't fathom her actions many times. To say the truth, she frustrated me. I wanted to throw the book at her, and tell her, lady, wake up! Perhaps, I am too harsh, considering that I am a known bearer of darkness myself. However, I can see the beauty in this novel - how thwarted emotions can mire so many relationships. And sometimes, during the course of the book, I kept wishing that I had a flower to give to all those who I once mired in my own bog of flawed emotions.
My favorite line from the book?
"Do you really think you're the only human being alive who is unforgivably flawed? Who's been hurt almost to the point of breaking?"
Verdict : Beautiful passages, and tense emotionally, but lacked connect for me.
Rating : 3/5