Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Language of Flowers - Vanessa Diffenbaugh (Audio)

Since the day this book came out, many of you have claimed it to be a phenomenal book.  Beyond that, many said it was their favorite read of the year.  Which is a pretty big deal, and something I pay close attention to.

The premise sounds OK, but really seems like it has been done before.  Dysfunction, dysfunction, dysfunction.  A character with big issues.  A character you don't necessarily like.  It was hard for me to get excited about it.  

Well, I should have listened to all of you and read it sooner.  It was wonderful.  But now I struggle in verbalizing WHY it is so wonderful.  What can I tell you that will help set this book apart from all the others?  Thus, this is why I've put off writing a review.  

Synopsis:  Victoria Jones has spent her entire life in the foster care system, and has forever been mistreated, unloved and unwanted.  As a result, she is distant and mistrusting of everyone.  Now 18 and emancipated, she sets out on her own and flounders in the ability to streamline with society...until she realizes that her passion and gift for flowers is what is going to save her.  

It is the chance meeting of a young man, someone from her past, that causes her to reflect back on the path she has taken in her life, and the special woman that took her in and taught her the language of flowers...and of unconditional love.  

But Victoria is no longer a part of this woman's life.  Something went very wrong, and Diffenbaugh slowly reveals to us Victoria's story, past and present.  It is a story of love, loss, forgiveness and rebirth.  A story so real and full of hope that your heart will soar.

My thoughts:  Well, I guess a few of my thoughts and opinions crept into the synopsis.  I loved this book.  All the other reviews were right...Victoria is a piece of work.  She is flawed and frustrating, but she is also capable and worthy of saving.  

What makes this book so special?  Well, I guess it goes without saying that Diffenbaugh has a special talent with words.  Her words flow, and are as beautiful as the flowers she describes.  And I'm not really a flower person...I have a black thumb.  But she makes me want to be a gardener.  She makes me want to bring forth beauty and life from the earth.  

The Victorian language of flowers...honeysuckle for patience, acacia for secret love, asters for patience, daisy for innocence...and the ability to make a magical difference in people's lives through these flowers by using just the right one, is heady stuff.  I compare it to the magic and healing properties evoked with food in the "The School of Essential Ingredients" by Erica Bauermeister.  This delicate charm, matched up with a damaged young woman was an emotional combination.  

But I think the most exceptional aspect of the story is the HOPE.  The plot may seem dreary, and there are parts that are very dreary, but it is only there to help us appreciate the rebirth of Victoria, to give us a perspective.  By the end of the story, my heart swelled to its maximum capacity.  

A few words about the audio production:  Our narrator for this audiobook is Tara Sands, who is one of the most gifted voices for young adult characters I've ever heard.  I find it amazing that the woman is 37 but sounds like an 18 year old.  If you look at the word she has done, she has been everywhere.  She made this audio an amazing listening experience for me.

Audiobook length:  10 hours and 50 minutes (352 pages)

5 out of 5 stars

  

16 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I agree with you - it is very hard to say WHY this book is so wonderful!

Anita said...

I felt so moved when I read this book, and it was difficult to put into words. Happy to read you enjoyed it.

bermudaonion said...

I adored this book as well. Victoria is nothing like me yet I could relate to her and empathize with her. I read this with my book club and every single person loved it, which is rare with my bunch.

Ti said...

Yes, this book was filled with sadness but also hope and I think that is what saved it.

Plus, the writing was great. I almost started lactating when I read that crying baby breastfeeding bit.

Jackie Bailey said...

I still haven't been convinced to read this. The premise just doesn't sound like my sort of thing. I actually have a copy here and now you've given it 5 stars too I think I might just have to try it.

Julie P. said...

Loved this book. Why did you wait so long? LOL!

Alyce said...

When I first heard about this book I thought it sounded kind of hokey. Then all of positive reviews started rolling in and I started to reconsider reading it. At this point I'm almost afraid to pick it up because it's been praised so highly that it won't rise to my expectations. What I really need to do though is wait till I'm in the right mood and try to read it as if I'd never heard anything about it. We'll see when I can manage that. :)

Meg @ write meg! said...

Oh, I also loved this one -- and listened to it on audio. Such a moving, memorable novel -- and you're right: Sands does a phenomenal job with Victoria. I can still recall many details months later.

Jo-Jo said...

I'm glad you liked this one Sandy...I sure did too!

JoAnn said...

Guess I need to add another book to my audio wish list...

Carrie K. said...

So glad you loved it, too!

softdrink said...

I'm scared to read this one, too, for fear it will be a disappointment. Also because I work for Social Services and do I really want to read about something related to my work? But everyone's been raving, so I did cave and buy t. Now I just need to commit to the reading.

softdrink said...

Also, maybe if you all would STOP WITH THE STEPHEN KING RECS, I might get around to picking this one up sooner rather than later. I've added Rose Madder and Bag of Bones to the TBR pile thanks to you and Jenners.

Heather @ Book Addiction said...

I totally agree, this is an amazing novel. So glad you loved it too.

Emma said...

thanks for your great review. I enjoyed it very much as well. Now you have me curious about this narrator, am going to check.
here is my review:
http://wordsandpeace.com/2011/10/07/73-review-the-language-of-flowers/

Carole said...

Hi there, the December edition of Books You Loved has just gone live today. Here is the link Books You Loved December Edition Please do pop by and link in a post about a book you loved. Maybe this one? Cheers