I did receive compensation for the review of this book, but have only expressed my honest opinion.
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The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I consider myself a rose with thorns. In fact, because I consider everyone in this world a rose with thorns (some have more than others), I was very intrigued from the first time I read the title of this book. Come to find out I was right when I knew from the very title that I would love this book. I knew the author would be addressing my favorite topic in any piece of fiction or fact: the relationships of man to man (or in this case woman to girl, woman to multiple men, and woman to herself.) I know what it is like to live a daily struggle of trying to create deep meaningful relationships while addressing and dealing with my own personal thorns. It's what we call life and this book was full of it.
This book follows the story of two main characters: a teacher with two non-working kidneys who also loves to raise roses, and her teenage niece who has lived a long life of neglect and sorrow. I don't want to tell you what happens in the story because honestly I couldn't bare depriving you of the pleasure of following the story-line for yourself. It takes twists and turns through many other just as thorny but delightful characters. It's a feel-good story and it makes you ponder your own character and your own priorities.
The author writes from teacher Gal's point of view. Gal calls herself difficult and obstinate and explains that so are roses. "That's why I like the roses so much." I found this statement beautifully profound. If all of us can just learn to love each other past our thorns this world would be such a better place. A brighter place. And sometimes when we are lucky even a world full of sweet fragrance. (Read the book to understand that last metaphor - it explains in interesting detail how rose-breeders hope that good luck will smile in their direction with a sweet smelling hybrid) It's always another plus for a book when you read it for the story-line, but find yourself learning about a subject that you would never research otherwise. I will think of this book every time I smell the sweet roses planted out front of my house.
This is a four star book. If it was longer I may have given it 5. I highly recommend this book to all my friends. It was truly a joy to read. I plan to add Dilloway's debut novel How to Be An American Housewife to my list of must-reads.
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