The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh was an emotional read. It was one of those books that sucked me in from the start; I devoted an entire day to read the book from start to finish. Victoria Jones, the protagonist, elicited instant feelings from me. Victoria starts the novel fresh out of an intensely painful experience in the foster care system. She is broke and angry, the only thing she cares about are flowers and their meanings. The language of flowers is the only way she seems to be able to communicate with the world; it is the one bright spot in her past. As the story progresses it alternates between glimpses into Victoria’s past life, as well as her current, leading up to the collision of the two. And it is an powerful collision that left me in tears, left me feeling wrung out, and ultimately thrilled.
We see Victoria rebuild her life, or perhaps just build her life. She succeeds, but she fights for her survival/success. It’s not a pretty fight, and as I reader I was torn between being sympathetic toward her and being angry. It is more than just rebuilding her life as well, she learns to take care of herself. This theme that rang very true to me, because (while in a drastically different situation) I have learned to take care of myself, and I know how difficult that is to do.
Ultimately, I would highly recommend this book. Especially if you like to read stories that don’t have a clear happy ending, but end with happily ever after coming around the corner. Or, if you really enjoy an intense emotional read.
What really got me in this novel was Victoria’s pregnancy and resulting birth. My biological clock is about ready to explode, so the depictions of her childbirth and pregnancy all but did me in, they were so achingly beautiful and painful for me to read. Her evolution into a mother is messy and far from perfect, and it is evolving even as the book ends. This really sealed the book into being something amazing to me. I understood all that Victoria did, and felt for her as she went through the steps of taking care of herself, even they were reasons I did not understand, or feel I would do.