Book Review: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

My most lasting impression about The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway was, interestingly enough, not anything to do with the crux of the plot.

While I found the descriptions of the rose industry interesting, and I was mildly interested in Gal’s interaction with her niece, her friends, and her love interests, the part the really stayed with me was her experience with kidney failure. I never knew that much about dialysis before, and I think I always had this mental image that it affected your life in that you had to go to the doctor more frequently than other people.

I had never thought about how it would control what you ate and how much water you were allowed to drink. As someone who drinks about a gallon of water every day, it made me thirsty just thinking about Gal’s condition.

But I think there’s something about Gal herself that leaves the reader wanting. She seems so determined to not be dependent and to stamp down any feelings of neediness that she ends up stamping down just about every emotion. I didn’t feel her interest in maintaining any relationships. I barely felt her love for her niece in the writing. And while she even addresses this lack of concern for others (so consumed in her own problems as she is), it seemed like an afterthought. “Oh, yeah, maybe I should ask my friends what’s going on in their lives now and then.”

An afterthought that didn’t have much follow-through.

If you read this book, were your dissatisfied with Gal’s emotions? What was your most lasting impression of the book?

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