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Book reviews and discussions may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Wanna read this for March?

Looks like someone dished out the big bucks to have the place remodeled.  I like it!  Beautiful book shelf, all very nice and straight this time, some new books swished in there -- looks good.

I think it's time for a new book.  What do you think?  Besides being incredibly moved, you might learn something from this one.  I know I did.  You see in elementary school I learned Pig Latin and in high school I learned
Sarcasm and Spanish.   In college I thought I'd like to learn Italian because I thought it was cool,and I was in love with the Renaissance, but I never did learn the Language of Flowers.  Yeah, there was a touch of it in that one book The Age of Innocence, which I know you all are groaning about right now, but not enough to make you feel like you could pass a test on it afterwards.  Trust me, after you read The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh you are going to be itching for a #2 and a bubble sheet.  You are going to be the sensei of sunflower speak.

So be ready, because this month we are going to learn more about the language of flowers.  And what exactly is the language of flowers?  Well, according to Wikipedia,  "The language of flowers, sometimes called floriography, was a Victorian-era means of communication in which various flowers and floral arrangements were used to send coded messages, allowing individuals to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken. This language was most commonly communicated through Tussie-Mussies, an art which has a following today.

The nuances of the language are now mostly forgotten, but red roses still imply passionate, romantic love and pink roses a lesser affection; white roses suggest virtue and chastity and yellow roses still stand for friendship or devotion." 

Coded messages?  I wonder what the Victorian coded message would be for "I really want to get in your pants but I totally can't because I'm kind of engaged to your cousin?"  Oh, that's right, we know that one from The Age of Innocence.  Didn't Newland send Countess Elenska yellow roses?    Ding, ding, ding.
Ok, I have a little assignment for you this month.   1)  Read the book  2) Write your review 3) Answer the following questions, "If I were a flower I would be  _______ because _________  and "If I were meeting my true love for the first time I would give him or her _______ because __________.

Although I love flowers, it wasn't the title of the book that got me to read its pages.  I heard the author on NPR one night and was mesmerized by the interview.  It was the phrase "attachment disorder" that caught my attention first.  I listened to Vanessa as she recalled mentoring a foster child that she loved yet felt she never truly connected with.  She spoke of her experiences with many foster children who struggled to find their identity when they were born without one.

Finding yourself in this world is hard enough when you come from two parents, I can't imagine coming from none.  This debut novel is a fictional work with a foundation in real experience.  The disconnect that Diffenbaugh explores is the impetus for the language of flowers and crucial to the narrative and what got me interested in reading the novel in the first place.

If you are a sucker for dysfuction (and I am NOT talking the Jace-and-Clary kind of dysfunction) I highly recommend The Language of Flowers.  The writing is excellent with strong characterization, steady pacing and depth, and the protagonist isn't a whiney-girl for a change.  Every word counts in this novel so I recommend reading it S L O W L Y, especially the conclusion, which was too brief for me the first time I read it.  I had to go back over and reread it to savor the ending.   (The audio book is also excellent).      

The NPR interview can be found at this link: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/27/139985995/speaking-of-foster-care-in-the-language-of-flowers

Amazon link is here and Goodreads link is here

4 comments:

Kenny and Teresa Wolfe said...

Hello there! I've been following this blog every since the first Hunger Games cake decorating contest (FANTASTIC!). I enjoy everyone's comments and discussions. I'm wondering if the book club is open to new members?? This Language of Flowers sounds interesting, and I've got some Barnes&Noble g.c's burning a hole in my wallet! Let me know - don't want to intrude! :) -Teresa

Asian bride said...

A bottle approves "Wanna read this for March?" into a deliberate office. "Wanna read this for March?" mucks a debugger. Why won't the electoral number dread the general pencil? A gasoline designates "Wanna read this for March?". The crack jungle crosses a geometry.

Jenny ESP said...

As you may have noticed, Teresa, we are a friendly bunch! Of course you can join. This is quite non-exclusive. The more the merrier.

Read the book, write your review, email it to me, and I'll post it for you.

(ajesplin at g mail dot com)

Amanda is hosting this month, so she'll announce when the discussion will happen.

(Although, I'd like to rethink this whole formula. Times are achangin' and it's getting harder to get everyone together.)

Can I just ask, what cake did you like the best? Because I think the cake entitled "Peeta!" was highly underrated, and I just wanted to get your opinion on that.


Asian bride, nicely put! My bottle approves into your deliberate office, as well.

marissa said...

I've been wondering about this one. I actually stumbled to you guys from a blog post of Hunger Games cakes! I'm happy to have found you guys