Sunday, July 17, 2011
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
This is a literary novel. The writing is very well crafted. The story focuses on Victoria Jones, a foster child who has just turned eighteen and been emancipated. Part of the authors goal in writing this novel is to expose the abusive nature of the foster care systems in the United States. At times, the novel can be quite difficult to read. There is a lot of tension in the story.
A major theme in the novel is the Victorian language of flowers, which is a language of emotion expressed through flowers. The author includes an addendum at the end of the book called Victoria's Dictionary of Flowers. Different flowers express different emotions in the book. The flowers add color, tone, and feeling to the writing. The writing uses all five senses.
The action and scenes also take place in very green spaces; a vineyard, a flower market, a flower shop, a floral greenhouse, and a park are some of the settings. This makes the book very alive. There is also some sex and quite a bit of writing about the meaning of love.
The characters have an edge to them. They wound each other emotionally and have a creative edge. Victoria Jones as she progresses through the novel creates a photographic dictionary of flowers, she selects flowers for weddings, dates, and lovers. She relates to people in her life with plants. It is a life at points which is on the edge of homelessness and madness.
The writing is both strong and beautiful. It is the authors first novel. There is an interview in the back of the book. The novel is coming out on August 23, 2011. This was an advanced reading copy sent to me by Library Journal.