Vanessa Diffenbaugh's The Language of Flowers (2011) is the author's first novel and it has been a bestseller and book group favorite since its publication. The library's Tuesday night book group will be discussing this popular book tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m.
Victoria Jones at age eighteen has just aged out of the foster care system and, after a brief period of homelessness, begins working for a florist where she uses the Victorian language of flowers to communicate feelings and messages for her customers. Her creativity with flowers makes her floral creations very popular and eventually leads to a successful career.
The Language of Flowers shows the problems of the foster care system from the point of view of a little girl who spends her life bouncing from family to family and finally to group homes. Unloved, unwanted and badly behaved, Victoria's damaged soul and obstreperous behavior sets her on a self-fulfilling cycle of rejection, loss and emotional isolation. Just when she finds a foster home where she and the mother begin to slowly form a bond of trust, the situation devolves into tragedy. It is this tragedy that needs to be remembered, confronted and resolved before Victoria can learn to love and trust and build a life for herself.
I enjoyed this book very much and will be interested in hearing the book group members' impressions of the story.
Janet Maslin's review in the New York Times
Excerpt from the New York Times review: 'Vanessa Diffenbaugh has used adoption, foster homes, emancipation,
homelessness, single motherhood and attachment disorder as talking
points for “The Language of Flowers,” her virtually self-marketing debut
book. She has set up an advocacy group to support young people making the transition from foster care to independence. And she has compiled her own flower dictionary, modeled on one from 1885'
Information about the author from the publisher's website: Random House
Reading Group Guides Discussion Questions