Tuesday, July 14, 2009
HOTHOUSE FLOWER AND THE NINE PLANTS OF DESIRE by Margot Berwin
This book has gotten a lot of buzz because it has already been optioned by Julia Roberts to turn into a movie. The premise of the book promises a light, fun summer read.
Lila is a thirty-something divorcee looking for a fresh start. She runs into a hunky tropical plant vendor (a la Christian Slater in "Bed of Roses") who changes her life by selling her a Bird of Paradise. Lila gets hooked on tropical plants. When she sees a special fern hanging in the window of a landromat, Lila can't resist checking it out. It is in this unusual landromat that Lila first hears of the Nine Plants of Desire. These chance encounters will take Lila into the jungles of Mexico to gather the nine plants of desire before her foe does.
I really wanted to like this book. I had been saving it. I was really and truly disappointed. The plot unfolded a little too quickly with no real emphasis on character development and motivation. Lila should have been a quirky Bridget Jones-type but her character flaws just made her come off as an insufferable self-absorbed woman whose actions have very serious consequences to those around her. I loved the descriptions of the nine plants, however. The idea for searching for those special tropical plants in Mexico was great. It could have been a wonderful, funny, romantic adventure. Instead, it just left me cold.
BOTTOM LINE: Not recommended. It will be interesting to see how this translates to the big screen. It might be more effective. I just didn't like any of the characters which made it hard to connect to the book. I also felt the plot needed more development. Don't dumb it down for your readers!!! We don't need television-paced entertainment in our books.