Thursday, July 26, 2012

{ book review : the handling + care of roses with thorns }

i wasn't sure what to expect when i received the latest blogher book club selection
the care and handling of roses with thorns by margaret dilloway.
i was honestly nervous that it would be a little too scientific-y for me.
well, i was proved wrong. wrong. wrong.

it's a wonderful story about the goodness of a person and our relationships.
| | |
galilee "gal" garner is a biology teacher in need of a kidney transplant 
and regularly going through dialysis. 
she has never been married and has no children. 
her parents are devoted to her, probably due to the guilt her mother feels for gal's health struggles.
they will drop anything to tend to her.
in short, gal has never really had a real relationship.
she has some friends, well one friend named dara, 
but even dara overlooks gal's rudeness and inability to relate.

then her teenage niece drops into her life. 
almost literally.
gal is called to the principal's office where she sees the strangely familiar face of a girl
and soon realizes the girl is her sister becky's daughter, whom she hasn't seen in seven years.
with her mother gone to hong kong for months due to work, 
riley, gal's niece, has shown up unannounced and plans to stay. 

just like that gal is the guardian, caregiver, and pseudo-mother of a sixteen -year-old.
which gal realizes might be something for the benefit
of riley since becky is a royal mess of a mom.
but simply realizing that doesn't make it an easy transition.

gal is also a rose breeder
not a grower but a breeder.
that means she manipulates a rose from its very early stages of growth
directing what they will look like, smell like, etc.  
she invents roses. 
the roses are her life.
| | |
i found myself so involved in the story that i was often frustrated.
i felt bad for riley because she was put on a bus headed to her estranged aunt's.
she was just disposed of. put in a new place to make new friends. as if it's that easy.
the girl had some seriously repressed abandonment issues.
i was frustrated that gal wasn't able to love her niece like she needed to be.
i was frustrated she didn't see beyond her own needs.
i felt bad for gal because of her illness 
and because she was handed a responsibility she didn't ask for.
i was frustrated that becky didn't think about gal's health 
and that riley didn't know to pitch in.

but in the end, as you can imagine,
gal's rose breeding wasn't thrown into the book just for kicks.
it becomes a metaphor for gal and riley's relationship. 
as gal invents a new rose to enter into a contest,
a new relationship also emerges that will withstand more than just a rose show. 

join the blogher book club conversation here

Disclosure: This is a paid review from the BlogHer Publishing Network,
however all the opinions I share are my own.

1 comment:

Margaret Dilloway said...

Thank you for the great review and the fun pic! BTW I love how you painted the furniture-- a dresser?


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