Vanessa Diffenbaugh's debut novel The Language of Flowers, like all great works of literature, tells many truths in a simple story of heartbreak and beauty. More poignantly than any documentary, Ms. Diffenbaugh shows us the anguish and damage that happens to a child abandoned by her parents and shuffled from one foster home to another. Pain and insolation are all that 18-year-old Victoria Jones has ever know. Only one person in all of her 18 years was able to make a chink in that armour--only one and that was Elizabeth--who was almost her mother--and who taught her the language of flowers.
For Victoria, flowers were her solace and her comfort and more importantly they were her secret and her gift. Without a highschool education and no job experience Victoria is soon out on the streets unable to pay the rent. Eventually she proves her worth to a local florists and begins to develop a reputation as a florist. This one step, so small at first, launches into life head long and unprepared. Unknowingly she has set out on a journey to face her demons and to open her heart.
This book should come with a warning on the cover--the kind that you see and hear on t.v. that says especially sensitive listeners, viewers, or readers should step away for a few minutes. The emotional honesty in this book touched something deep inside of me and brought to the surface things I had thought I'd dealt with long ago. I thought it was done and I'd moved on. I don't know how it will affect others---but I do know this, if within you, there are emotional secrets, damages from long ago wounds, read this with caution.
The truth is I read Glen Duncan in spite of the story line, particularly in this book. Duncan has a lot to say about the human condition and Western civilization.
I will continue to read Glen Duncan because I treasure our intimate conversations.
What other reviewers have to say:
FROM NPR: Jake Marlowe is a man you'd want to sit next to at a dinner party. He's cultured and debonair; he savors fine literature, food and female companionship; he quotes Vladimir Nabokav, D.H. Lawrence and Starsky and Hutch.
In his 200 years, Marlowe — the world's last werewolf — has learned a lot about the finer things in life. (Read full review.)
FROM NY TIMES: It’s easy to see why werewolves might feel under-celebrated these days. While vampires and zombies have stormed the multiplexes and best-seller lists, and Dr. Frankenstein’s monster has completed its cultural infiltration by transforming into the ubiquitous information appliances of daily life (if my smartphone doesn’t count as artificial life run amok I don’t know what does), werewolves have been largely left to idle at the side of the literary road. Where are these Freudian howlers of the night? Theirs has been rather a raw deal. (Read full review)