Sunday, December 4, 2011

Book Review: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Victoria Jones has lived her entire life in foster care.  Now, at age 18, she has "aged out" of the system and is left to survive alone with what little skills and social savvy she possesses.  Paralyzed by her own inexperience, she ends up living in a San Francisco park and tending a secret garden.
Flowers are Victoria's only true language and she lovingly tends, selects, and gifts them to people as a way to communicate her anger and confusion.  She is drawn to them like nothing, or nobody else, and soon discovers a local florist willing to give her a chance, and a job. 
While Victoria begins to thrive and gain a following as a brilliant florist, her past refuses to release its grip on her.  When a chance encounter with a local flower vendor provides the link to Victoria's only real home, she is terrified of repeating past tragedies.  Victoria must make a choice between risking more pain in order to form lasting bonds for the first time in her life, or to withdraw completely into a life of solitude.
The author of this book has been a foster mother herself and tells this story with a unique love and understanding of children being raised by "the system."  It is a beautifully told coming-of-age tale that is completely original and enthralling.