What Flowers Rememberby Shannon Wiersbitzky
"Most folks probably think gardens only get tended when they're blooming. But most folks would be wrong. According to the almanac, a proper gardener does something every single month. Old Red Clancy was definitely a proper gardener. That's whyI enrolled myself in the Clancy School of Gardening. If I was going to learn about flowers, I wanted to learn from the best."
Delia and Old Red Clancy make quite a pair. He has the know-how and she has the get-up-and-go. When they dream up a seed- and flower-selling business, well, look out, Tucker's Ferry, because here they come.
But something is happening to Old Red. And the doctors say he can't be cured. He's forgetting places and names and getting cranky for no reason. As his condition worsens, Delia takes it upon herself to save as many memories as she can. Her mission is to gather Old Red's stories so that no one will forget, and she corrals everybody in town to help her.
WHAT FLOWERS REMEMBER is the story of love and loss, of a young girl coming to understand that even when people die, they live on in our minds, our hearts, and our stories.
Thanks to her love of flowers, Delia has become a sort of apprentice to talented gardener Old Red and is devastated when he begins to show signs of encroaching dementia. With all of the confidence of youth, she holds in her heart the belief that perhaps with her help—and that of all his loving neighbors—she can preserve his memories by collecting favorite stories about the beloved man. As she moves through the months, she records (in a rather mature first-person) both the tasks she completes in the garden as well as the stories she collects about him, also describing Red's tragically inexorable decline. Delia's surrounded by loving adults, and she shares her grief with best friend Mae and new love interest Tommy, as well as receiving support from members of her church; with these relationships, this warm effort neatly captures the strength of a close-knit community and the tight bonds that can form between the very old and the young. The 13-year-old's often lyrical prose is attractive, even though it sometimes strays toward a more adult-sounding voice. Her frustration, fear and sense of loss will be readily recognizable to others who have experienced dementia in a loved one, and her story may provide some guidance on how to move down that rocky path toward acceptance and letting go. What do flowers remember? The stories of the people who cared for them, of course, as Wiersbitzky's sensitive novel compassionately conveys. (Fiction. 11-14)
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)
- Age Range:
- 11 - 15 Years
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
One day Old Red is training Delia as his flower apprentice, and the next he can hardly remember her. As heartbroken as Delia is when Old Red’s memory starts to slip, she turns her sadness into a town-wide effort to preserve Old Red’s best memories in a notebook, so he can pull one out at any time—to remember. This is a beautiful story of a girl on a mission to help her best pal regain the moments from his life that meant so much. Though a flower may wilt and die, its seeds have the power to live on.
What flowers remember is a well written, thoughtful story that really helped me understand how to more effectively interact with, and help those in my life who are struggling with memory loss. I was struck by how helpful I found it, and how a child might equally find it helpful. Shannon is a terrific writer. I highly recommend this book, as a tender story, and as a guide for those of us who are faced with similar challenges.