Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns - A Book Review

When I first started reading The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns I was coming off the high of having finished (and loving) What Alice Forgot. The two could not be more different. I had a hard time getting started with this book because it all seemed so heavy, so negative.

Galilee (Gal) Garner is a high school biology teacher, with a devastating long-term illness that causes her to have to do dialysis several times a week. Her only passion in life are her roses, roses that she has made the top priority of her entire world. It's through her work with roses that she is attempting to change the miserable existence that she has made for herself and she truly believes that they are her only chance.

It takes a lot of energy, patience, and tenacity to be friends with a Gal. She is someone who will continually suck you dry - emotionally and physically - if you allow her to. She becomes jealous if she feels as though someone is taking priority in your life over her. And she will pull out the chronic illness card for guilt should you try to reason with her.

She has been doing it for years - to her boss, her one friend, her parents, and her sister - without realizing the devastation and animosity that she has bred.

It is not until her niece arrives, unexpectedly and unannounced, that you see a change in Gal's demeanor. She begins to ease up out of her own personal pity party as the emotional and physical needs of a teenager begin to supersede her own and she is forced (most likely for the first time) to focus on someone else's needs and feelings.

I ended up really loving this book, in spite of the slow and dreary start. It made me take a long look at my own life and self as of late and come to some powerful conclusions about the kind of friend and companion that I have been.

I highly recommend The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns for your summer beach reading list and am looking forward to reading Margaret Dilloway's first book How to be An American Housewife. 

We will be discussing The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns at the BlogHer Book Club for the next 4 weeks - come join the discussion!

This is a paid review for the BlogHer Book Club. All opinions and statements in this review are my own. 

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