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09 September 2012

'The Language of Flowers' by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Say it with flowers

This book followed me around in hardback and then paperback for a long time.  Finally, at a bookseller's in France, I had no choice.  I bought it and read it with a chilled ros√©.  The basic premise is that of the coming of age of an orphaned child passed around the social foster system in the States.  It was sad and enlightening; apparently the author based this part of her story on too much cruel reality.  The language of flowers that the protagonist learns and then reinvents gives her sadness and loneliness added depth, intelligence and hope.  When people no longer believe the words that come out of her mouth or the emotions she professes to feel, she still has a way to communicate, if only with herself.  I liked the ideas, the sadness, the hope and the redemption.

By the way, while reading this book I was surrounded by bougainvilleas and mimosas which mean "passion" and "sensitivity" respectively.  A colorful frame to a long awaited vacation.  And how romantic the notion of "saying it with flowers."  In the age of Twitter and emails, a thoughtful, meaningful bouquet is the ultimate sign of commitment and devotion.  Lawyers have made the written word absolute in communication but our original form of sharing ideas was speech.  Created from flesh and breath, it was set free to the air.  It is an ephemeral way  of inventing, sharing and loving.   Flowers can be a happy in-between; they last longer than spoken words but not as long as a letter or emails.  You can always change your mind.  An email is forever as many politicians and journalists have discovered.

Flowers are always welcomed at my home. If I understand your message then it is all to the good and if I cannot then I appreciate the gesture anyway.

Vanessa Diffenbaugh 
ISBN: 9780330532013  


  1. Anonymous11:12

    hi miriam,
    this was a blog where i was more interested in the context or background of your reading experience. i imagine that your daily life is not reading a book in france with wine and flowers surrounding you. i was also struck by what you said about flowers and their meanings. in addition, i agree about the quality of communicating with speech face to face. your line "created by flesh and breath, it was set free to the air." is beautiful. i have recently experienced the connection of "inventing, sharing and loving".
    thank you,

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