I’m Down with The Language of Flowers

Posted 5 December, 2012 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 16 Comments


You know, I’ve been pretty good about writing up posts for the books I’ve read this year. Ok, now that I typed that I counted in my head and realize that’s a lie. There are about six books I haven’t written about and since I’ve only read 20ish, the percentage isn’t so great. It’s even worse when you factor in audiobooks, which I find very difficult to write about. Boo. I felt great when I started to type this paragraph! This is what I get for typing before thinking. I wonder if I have any ice cream in my freezer.

I’ve given up the idea of writing about the audiobooks I’ve listened to and I probably won’t write about Catching Fire until I finally finish Mockingjay. I would like to write about Fifty Shades of Grey but it’s already starting to get foggy. That leaves I’m Down, The Language of Flowers, and Fight Club. Fight Club deserves it’s own post. The other two…eh…  Oh and the sixth? Ready Player One as a re-read but I’ve already posted about it once.

Title: I’m Down
Author: Mishna Wolff
Published: 2009 Pages: 272
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 3/5

In Short: “Mishna Wolff grew up in a poor black neighborhood with her single father, a white man who truly believed he was black.” (from the cover)

Why I read: For a Real Bookstore bookclub. Suggested as a lighthearted read. Bahahaha.

Thoughts In Brief: Ok, to be completely fair I found this book easy to consume and was interested enough to read it rather quickly. But it was compelling in the way that a car accident is–you want to see what happened but you really shouldn’t be looking and then you feel bad about looking. However, this book isn’t lighthearted and it isn’t funny. It’s sad and I often got mad at Mishna for that way that she acted or the way that she talks about her family or mad at her family for their failure to understand Mishna and her differences.

Bottom line: Don’t let the cover fool you—this book is not terribly funny and the message of the book was confused and unclear. This book lot of promise with very little delivery.

Title: The Language of Flowers
Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Published: 2011 Pages: 322
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5

In Short: Victoria has been in foster care her whole life but after she turns eighteen she must create a life for her own. She falls back upon her knowledge of flowers and realizes that they are the key to making amends with her past and forging her way into the future.

Why I read: For a Real Bookstore bookclub. :)

Thoughts In Brief: Beautiful and lyrical writing, interesting secondary characters, complex main character who develops throughout the novel. My favorite thing about the book was the romantic inclusion of the language of flowers–using floral and fauna to help convey a message–I loved this.

Bottom line: Overall an enjoyable book that I believe has widespread appeal. I love many things about the book–especially the present and past narrations–but I was also bothered by the main character’s lack of strength and some of the choices she made.

Bottom Bottom Line? If you’re going to read one of the two read The Language of Flowers. I’ll bet you like but it does have an Oprah’s Book Club feel to it (which I have nothing against…I’ve had good luck with her picks). Skip I’m Down completely.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think?

16 Responses to “I’m Down with The Language of Flowers”

  1. I haven’t read either one but I just had to comment about your post title. Great job! :D It intrigued me to find out what you were going to talk about. Turned out different from what I was expecting. lol :) But I may have to try that second one. Thanks!

  2. I used to be so good at keeping up to date with reviews – finish one book and straight onto the computer to type it out! I’ve gotten really far behind though (by about six books, same as you) and I’m desperately trying to keep up so I can start the New Year with a clean state.

    I have The Language of Flowers on my TBR, although with a different cover. I’ve heard great things about it, so I’m glad you like it too.

  3. Well gosh, I so totally agree with your 3-prong evaluation of The Language of Flowers that I may just have to pretend to myself that *I* wrote it! :–)

  4. I’ve got a backlog of reviews as well…and at least 2 of them are audiobooks :/ I’ve got The Language of Flowers on my WishList and no worries about me reading the other one. Sounds like a sad sociological read with a ridiculous cover…what’s to make fun of? Thanks for the heads up!

  5. I’ve not read either, but I do plan to read The language Of Flowers at some point. Not sure I’m intrigued by I’m Down, the cover does look quite quirky which doesn’t sound like it gels with the content.

  6. I recently read The Language of Flowers as well, and I totally agree with your opinion of the positives as well as the negatives! But I really enjoyed it overall and recommended it to my sisters. But you know I am always a sucker for the Oprah type books :)

  7. It’s too bad I’m Down wasn’t better – I love the cover.

    I liked The Language of Flowers more than you did – it may be one of my favorites of the year. I thought Victoria was very strong but she did make some poor choices. I read it with my book club. One of our members works with foster children and she said Victoria’s behavior was pretty typical for them.

  8. I think I have Language of Flowers around here somewhere. I am glad you liked it overall. :-) I’ve got three–no, four–books going right now that I’d like to finish before the year is out. Going to happen? Probably not. LOL

  9. I haven’t read I’m Down but I heard the author on NPR and she was really interesting. I didn’t realize her book was such a downer though!

  10. Ti

    When I read the title of this post, I just thought you were way cool and “down with it” I didn’t realize you were talking about two books! LOL! You are way cool anyway, you know.

    As a mom, you were probably bothered by the part where she leaves the infant. Yes? I swear, I lactated over that part.

  11. Can’t say that I’ve read either of these but I have read some good reviews for The Language of Flowers. And if it makes you feel any better I’m about 12 reviews behind right now :/

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