The Language of Flowers, By Vanessa Diffenbaugh

 

Emma Hagestadt
Friday 02 March 2012 01:00
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Diffenbaugh's best-selling debut is a surprisingly fragrant book about a less than pretty subject. Victoria Jones has spent her life in and out of children's homes and foster care.

Aged 18, she's able to leave the guardianship of the State of California, and finds herself living rough in a municipal park. Her only solace lies in her love of plants, a passion instilled in her by a foster carer. This archaic code - lavender for mistrust, honeysuckle for devotion - appealed to a young girl unable to express emotions of her own.

Combining the botanical with the analytical, Diffenbaugh's over-blown and eccentric narrative nevertheless succeeds in getting inside the head of a young woman who has never experienced the joys of attachment.

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