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If You Lived Here, You'd Be Perfect By Now: The Unofficial Guide to Sweet Valley High
Robin Hardwick
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The Language of Flowers - Vanessa Diffenbaugh This book was very good. Really enjoyed reading it. Though to be perfectly honest when I received this in the mail (I won this on goodreads)it didn't really catch my attention at first. I opened it and saw that the publisher had put a letter in there raving about the book. Still wasn't totally convinced. And being that I'm not a girly girl, I looked at the cover and was like "Eh flowers. Pretty, but not for me." Then sometime later I received an email from the Oprah Book Club and it was called 18 Books You Can't Miss. I looked through the list and at one point I was like O_o Wait a minute... I have that book! Hmm... Maybe it won't be so bad. Let me check it out now. I immediately went to my room, got the book, and started reading. So glad I did.

This book was very well done. Beautiful, dark, painful, deep, real. I was hooked throughout. It reminded me somewhat of Dave Pelzer's books which are about his experiences as a foster child in foster homes throughout different stages of his life. Same darkness and depth and particularly moving. Even though The Language of Flowers is a work of fiction I felt it captured how a foster child might feel about herself, about the world, about the people who surround her, and how she might behave because of everything she has gone through. I think the characters were all portrayed realistically and I loved that they were complex. They were real because of that. And I especially loved how the main character, Victoria, would communicate with people, how she choose to express herself, how she choose to isolate herself from most people. It made sense to me that Victoria would communicate through flowers. Sometimes expressing yourself orally is pointless, losses significance because it just seems you are just not important to people, so what is the point of talking if you are not important? Not worth of love? If you can't trust people? I love that I can connect this book to what the Korean film director, Kim Ki Duk (one of my favorite directors) once said. I'll put it here so you can all see. It's a lengthy quote, but absolutely worth reading.

"The reason that in my movies there are people who do not talk is because something deeply wounded them. They had their trust in other human beings destroyed because of promises that were not kept. They were told things like “I love you”, and the person who said it did not really mean it. Because of these disappointments they lost their faith and trust and stopped talking. The violence that they turn to, I prefer to call a kind of body language. I would like to think of it as more of a physical expression rather than just negative violence. The scars and wounds which mark my figures are the signs of experiences which young people go through, in an age when they can not really respond to outside traumas. They cannot protect themselves against physical abuse, for example from their parents, or verbal abuse or when they see their parents fight. Or when you walk in the street and someone beats you up. When those kinds of things happen, you are helpless and you cannot do anything about it. These experiences remain as scars for those people. I personally had experiences like these. For instance, in the past, some kids who were younger than me but physically stronger beat me up. I could not defend myself. Also, in the marines, because some of the soldiers were in a higher rank they beat me up for no logical reason. In the process of having gone through experiences like this I ask myself, why does this have to be?"

Another thing I enjoyed about this book is that it taught me that flowers actually have meaning, that you can communicate through them. I plant flowers because I have always thought them to be beautiful, but now I've been paying more attention to them because now I know that each of them stand for something, that for example, if I give someone a hazel flower, it would mean reconciliation. And I think that's pretty awesome. I have way more appreciation for flowers now. This book taught me how powerful, beautiful, and therapeutic, they can actually be.

I would recommend this book to everyone. It's a very beautiful book and captures human pain realistically. And it makes you see, at least to me it did, that there might be troubles in your life, but at least you have not been that damaged in life that you have still allowed people in your life that you can count on. Some people aren't so fortunate. Some people are so damaged that they might never allow people in their lives or they might struggle to get to the point of trying to establish meaningful relationships with people.

Vanessa Diffenbaugh