Review: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns

Some books are good because they masterfully spin stories that you can relate to, drawing you in and investing you in the outcome. Others are good because they make you care about something that you normally wouldn’t think of. This book fails squarely in the latter category.
You know when you read a book and it’s just not you, but you keep reading anyway just to finish? For much of this book, that was me. Recently I read The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway, a little bit before the book hits stores. It came thanks to my involvement with the BlogHer Book Club.

The book tells the story of a sick math teacher, Gal, who has to undergo dialysis every other right. She is single, needs a new kidney and carefully makes sure that she eats and drinks just enough for her condition. Her life’s passion is the roses that she grows and breeds in her special backyard greenhouse. Then, she’s thrown a personal curveball that totally changes her whole world.

So, what did I think of it? The main character was at first blush extremely unlikeable. She had this edge to her that made her seem unrelatable. And never mind her obsession with roses — something that I just don’t know anything about. Naturally, I had to force myself to keep going. Naturally, I thought it was going to be like pulling teeth to make it through the whole book. It wasn’t.

Dilloway crafts a story that makes you care and see how this seemingly cold and unlikeable character is actually a sweet, loving person who’s been knocked down by life. As the book progressed, I found myself rooting for her and wishing for her to succeed.

Was it worth reading? Definitely maybe. I enjoyed reading this book, and though the subject didn’t ring familiar to me found great merit in the story.

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Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this book review.


    • Sarah W. Caron says

      Sorry, Kate! This was a challenging one for me. I liked the book because it was well-written but the character and her struggles were beyond my realm. It’s complicated. Have you been reading the reviews on Sarah by the Sea?

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