The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns
By: Margaret Dilloway
The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns is a quiet story with a loud message. Written by Margaret Dilloway this novel is one of love, family, redemption, forgiveness, and perseverance. Dilloway has crafted a wonderful story where a family, broken by the toll caring for a loved one with kidney disease and failure, finds its way back together again. The lead in this story, Galilee Garner is a demure but demanding teaching who cares for, breeds and shows roses all while managing her poor health and constant need for dialysis. The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns is a great read and perfect to take with you to the beach this summer. You will find the pages in this book flying by. My only complaint is that it had to end. It is no surprise that this work is a winner of the ALA Reading List for 2013.
Inspired by the trials of her sister-in-law Margaret Dilloway is able to convey the struggle that is life attached to a dialysis machine. We cannot imaging what life must be like for people waiting for a kidney – but Dilloway gives us a pretty clear window into what it could be like. What makes this book even more intriguing is the family dynamics of a sister’s rough past and a niece’s need for a stable and loving home. Galilee Garner, or Gal as her friends though few in number call her, finds herself raising not just her roses but her temperamental teenage niece as well. Life never gives us what we plan for, and Gal is no exception. First unsure of what life with her niece Riley will bring, Gal finds a warmth and an attachment that she had not anticipated.
The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns taught me a lot about roses – you could say that I have a black thumb. The roses, a metaphor for both Gal and her nurturing side (though she would have never guessed that her knack for roses would help with raising a teenage girl) are a sweet addition to this work. Their different types, colors and aromas add beauty to the story but also serve as a tool to reveal bits about Gal and her life – both directly and indirectly through the situations they place her in. This book has something that all of us can relate to whether it is the grouchy neighbor, caring for a loved one, or being close to someone who is fighting a daily battle. I look forward to reading more works from Margaret Dilloway and hope that she continues to grace us with literary escapes like The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns.