Month: January 2014
I love good books that make you smarter all in the process of entertaining you, and therefore I love this book.
Victoria Jones was placed into the foster system when she was a baby. She was abused and neglected for years until she finally found Elizabeth’s home.
Elizabeth lets Victoria know right away that there is nothing Victoria can do in order to make Elizabeth put her back into the foster care system. A daughter of an abusive mother herself, Elizabeth understands Victoria’s pain and wants to help her. To communicate, Elizabeth shares the language of flowers. Each plant, each blossom, holds a specific meaning, and Victoria finds safety and a chance to develop a new skill.
This period of time only lasts 15 months, and after a certain event, Victoria is placed back in foster care until she is 18 and has an opportunity to use this knowledge to develop a career and even find forgiveness and love if she is able to embrace the chance.
At times frustrating and heartbreaking, The Language of Flowers is worth the read.
The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love.
But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.
Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.
This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, A Dog’s Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life’s most basic question: Why are we here?
Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey’s search for his new life’s meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog.
But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey’s journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders—will he ever find his purpose?
Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog’s Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog’s many lives, but also a dog’s-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man’s best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.
If I had stumbled into the library and found Love, Stargirl on the bookshelf and took it home with me and devoured it over the course of a few bitterly cold January nights, I know I would have loved it. The longest letter ever, Stargirl’s journal for an entire year, is a great story full of love and the power of being an unselfishly great friend.
Unfortunately, I did not stumble upon Love, Stargirl at the library. I read Stargirl first and wanted so much more from this book!
Stargirl, told from Leo’s perspective, portrays Stargirl in an amazing light. She is a quirky dresser, a fabulous public speaker, a kind friend, a generous spirit. Being in her head is not as much fun. We do not hear about her crazy outfits or strange antics because we are in her head. It loses a little bit of its magic.
And Stargirl ended with such promise, a new porcupine tie!, that I hoped Love, Stargirl would give some insight onto how these two great characters would cross paths again.
On its own, Love, Stargirl is a great book, but it is only a shadow of the original.
Love, Stargirl picks up a year after Stargirl ends and reveals the new life of the beloved character who moved away so suddenly at the end of Stargirl. The novel takes the form of “the world’s longest letter,” in diary form, going from date to date through a little more than a year’s time. In her writing, Stargirl mixes memories of her bittersweet time in Mica, Arizona, with involvements with new people in her life.
In Love, Stargirl, we hear the voice of Stargirl herself as she reflects on time, life, Leo, and—of course—love.
When I dug into “My Favorite Midlife Crisis (Yet!)” by Devens, I thought that Toby Devens was a male, and I was amazed by his insight and ability to write about a strong female. But I took the time to look Toby Devens up, and I discovered he is actually a she (Whew!). The secret processes of a woman’s brain are still safe.
The main character of this book, Gwyneth, is a doctor living in Baltimore. Her life has recently been turned upside down by the discovery that her husband is gay and has chosen a new life with their interior designer, Brad.
The cover summary on this book makes My Favorite Midlife Crisis (Yet!) seem light and adventurous as Gwyneth starts a new life. It is actually a lot heavier than the title or summary would lead you to believe. Gwyneth must battle through the fall-out of a divorce, starting a new health clinic, holding onto her position at work, coming to terms with her father’s illness, and, oh yes, somewhere in there she must date again.
Because of the heavy themes throughout this book, it is easy to put down. It is not a page-turner. That said, it is exceptionally well written and worth the effort.