Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle Reading App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Vanessa Diffenbaugh was born and raised in northern California. After studying creative writing, she went on to teach art and technology to youth in low-income communities. She and her husband PK have four children: Donovan, Tre'von, Graciela and Miles. Vanessa is also the co-founder of Camellia Network, whose mission is to create a nationwide movement to support youth transitioning from foster care. She and and her family live in Monterey, California.
We Never Asked for Wings is her second novel. Her first, The Language of Flowers, was published in over forty countries, and was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller in the UK.
The Language of Flowers is a moving story of a young girl kicked around by life and the foster care system. It kept me glued to the page this holiday weekend, as I couldn't seem to let go of Victoria and her unique means of communication. We first meet Victoria on her eighteenth birthday, when she ages out of the system and is thrust into society. Her social worker asks for her plan, but the problem is Victoria doesn't have one. She doesn't know what she wants and is carrying around enough anger, misery and self loathing that I had a hard time imagining her ever being able to cope with anything.
The story is told in chapters alternating between the present and events that occurred when she was 10 years old. This is when she had her last chance at a family and a normal life. We get a surprisingly vivid picture of both the 10 year old Victoria and the 18 year old Victoria. Her story is heartbreakingly real and will keep any reader riveted to the page as you cheer for this young woman to open up and learn to accept love and hope. Her anger is blistering and her narrative voice is strong and unfaltering as the reader gets a disturbing look at what can happen to kids in foster care. The scars Victoria carries are deep and lasting and the author creates a surprising amount of suspense as you are left to wonder just how she might overcome them.
All of the information about the actual language of flowers is fascinating and adds a magical element to the story that served to both temper some of the harsh emotional realities and give Victoria a port in her stormy life. One of my favorite parts of the book is when she meets Grant and attempts to communicate with him using flowers.Read more ›
"Do you really think you're the only human being alive who is unforgivably flawed? Who's been hurt almost to the point of breaking?"
After 18 years in the foster care system, Victoria believes that yes, she is the only one. And as a consequence, friendship, love, and redemption seem the stuff of fairy tales, of other people's lives.
In her debut novel, "The Language of Flowers", author Vanessa Diffenbaugh takes us into a world that very few of us really know: the life of children (and the adults they touch) in foster care. In doing so she manages to steer a careful course between the opposing shoals of sermonizing and romanticizing, and guides us straight into the life of Victoria, a young woman caught up in the current.
As many of us do, Victoria tries to find the balance between swimming against the tide and simply trying to stay afloat. Neither course is entirely successful, nor is it an absolute failure. Hampered by her inability to share her feelings verbally, Victoria falls back on her second language; the symbology of flowers. Through her almost instinctive ability to see the message in her floral medium, she finds a way to reach out to a handful of fellow travelers, a lifeline out of her self-inflicted solitude. But each time she throws the rope away, knowing in her heart she does not deserve to be saved, afraid to be tied to anyone or anything.
There comes a point in your life that you find that what prevents you from moving forward is not what is in front of you - it is what is behind you. The overwhelming weight of your past can anchor you in place, and rob you of your future. Often, a series of events will bring you right back to that point you started from, and you must confront the flood of your fears all over again.Read more ›
The story of Victoria Jones is a difficult one to tell. I feel grateful for having read this book before its official release. The story begins with a girl, Victoria, nervous and wild and a ward of the state. We see her being jerked around from place to place by a social worker whose only emotion seems to be the relief she gets when she leaves Victoria at a new home. This officially spares her the burden that Victoria has become. There is not much of a back story on how she came to be in the foster system and or why, but it isn't really needed in her case. In fact I think it made it that more interesting and believable. Not all abandoned children reconnect with their birth parents and ride off into the sunset.
We are transported from the present to the past (10 years to be exact) whit each alternating chapter. They start off giving us pieces of Victoria's past in group homes and her almost permanent home with Elizabeth. In the process of all this you learn a plethora of information about flowers that I never though possible. The names, oh the names and meanings!!! So brilliant. Victoria has turned 18 and is legally emancipated from the state of California and instead of rushing out to do what most 18 year olds in her situation would have done (party, drink, experiment) she takes the lonely road. She becomes homeless until a chance meeting gives her the opportunity to work using her talent for flowers. As a result, faces from the past reappear, old wounds reopened and new ones start to rip.
There are so many instances that I wanted to just scream at Victoria! Ok, maybe not scream but just stop reading. I was so frustrated with her selfishness that I could literally spit. Then somewhere along I got it, I simply got it!Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?