The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
We meet Victoria, a foster child, who has had a stereotypically rough life. Bounced from foster home to foster home, she is the cliched foster child who can’t trust people, doesn’t like to be touched, and often acts out. Chapters alternate between Victoria as a child and adult Victoria, who has just been released from the foster care system on her eighteenth birthday.
Predictably, Victoria ends up with a foster mother who loves her unconditionally and is going to fix everything, but we know that it can’t possibly work out because we’ve already seen adult Victoria just graduating from the foster care system. Much of the story is building up to figuring out what happened between Victoria and the stereotypically-perfect-foster-mother-who-saves-the-day, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth is such a cliche that she has, of course, overwhelmingly influenced Victoria’s life. Her teachings on the “language of flowers” – yellow roses mean jealousy, daffodils mean new beginnings, etc. – shape everything about Victoria and her life. She begins working at a florist shop using her knowledge to create extraordinary floral arrangements.
Then of course she meets a guy and in pure cheesy fashion they communicate via flowers.
While I enjoyed reading about the meanings of the flowers in the novel, I just couldn’t get past the fact that the whole story is all just too stereotypical, cheesy, cliched, and annoying. I can’t wait to debate this one with the book club!