The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

Unappealing Roses

The title The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns (C) by Margaret Dilloway is a metaphor for the story within.

Galiliee Garner teaches teens Biology at a Catholic school.  She is hard on the students, expecting nothing less than what she believes they are capable of. She lives by herself and breeds roses by competition standards.  At 36, she is in poor health.  Her kidneys failed as a child and she is again waiting for a kidney transplant.  She takes dialysis three times a week.

One day the principal asks her in to his office.  There she finds her 15-year-old niece Riley.  She hasn’t seen Riley in 6 years.  Riley’s mom has sent her to live with Gal, which comes as a complete surprise.  What follows is a very predictable story.  Teenage mood swings, concerns regarding dress and behavior as well as abandonment issues arise.  Gal is not prepared to handle any of this.  She struggles with major health issues while trying to raise both roses and Riley.

Since I am interested in gardening and love roses, I requested an advance reader’s copy of this book.  I found the information about breeding roses interesting, beyond that, the book was rather bland and boring. I seem to remember reading some of Dilloway’s first book, How to Be an American Housewife and found it less than wonderful too. Unfortunately, for me, not all roses smell sweet.


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