Reading Questions for The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
August 15, 2011
Warning: May contain spoilers
Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. What potential do Elizabeth, Renata and Grant see in Victoria that she has a
hard time seeing in herself?
2. While Victoria has been hungry and malnourished often in her life, food ends
up meaning more than just nourishment to her. What significance does food take
on in the book?
3. Victoria and Elizabeth both struggle with the idea of being part of a family.
What does it mean to you to be part of a family? What defines family?
4. Why do you think Elizabeth waits so long before trying to patch things up with her long-lost sister Catherine? What is the impetus for her to do so?
5. The first week after her daughter's birth goes surprisingly well for Victoria.
What makes Victoria feel unable to care for her child after the week ends? And
what allows her to ultimately rejoin her family?
6. One of the novel's big themes is forgiveness and second chances—do you
think Victoria deserves one after the things she has done (both as a child and as
an adult)? What about Catherine? And Elizabeth?
7. What do you think of the structure of the book—the alternating chapters of
past and present? In what ways do the two story lines parallel each other, and
how do they diverge?
8. The novel touches on many different themes (love, family, forgiveness, second
chances). Which do you think is the most important? And what did you think was
ultimately the lesson?
9. At the end of the novel, Victoria learns that moss grows without roots. What
does this mean, and why is it such a revelation for her?
10. Based on your reading of the novel, what are your impressions of the foster
care system in America? What could be improved?
11. Knowing what you now know about the language of flowers, to whom would
you send a bouquet and what would you want it to say?