Learning to Talk to Plants

- Marta Orriols

Goodreads Book Blurb:

Paula’s partner has died in a car accident – but no one knows her true grief. Only hours before his death, Mauro revealed that he was leaving her for another woman.

Paula guards this secret and ploughs on with her job as a paediatrician in Barcelona, trying to maintain the outline of their old life. But all of Mauro’s plants are dying, the fridge only contains expired yoghurt and her mind feverishly obsesses over this other, unknown woman.

As the weeks pass, vitality returns to Paula in unexpected ways. She remembers, slowly, how to live. By turns devastating and darkly funny, Learning to Talk to Plants is a piercingly honest portrayal of grief – and of the many ways to lose someone.


My Review:

***Thanks to NetGalley and Pushkin Press for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided.

not my cup of tea:
I enjoyed bits and pieces of this story, but it mostly felt like a lot of fluff because the narrative is so introspective and flighty. I kept waiting for the story to start or something to happen, but we just kept floating along with seemingly no purpose.

Learning to Talk to Plants is supposed to be about coming to terms with grief, specifically, grief that is more complicated than it first appears. But the emotions feel superficial, the language is flowery but indistinct, and nothing happens. I ended up skimming more than I usually do because a lot of the writing was superfluous to the plot. Characters were introduced and disappeared with no purpose or explanation, and I couldn’t figure out why I was reading this book.

I couldn’t tell if Paula actually cared about her husband leaving her or dying or not. And considering the ‘other woman’ showed up at the hospital with the rest of the family, it seemed unbelievable that no one besides Paula and Nacho knew that Mauro was having an affair. Even their ‘confrontation’ was sterile and pointless. I kept waiting for something to happen with these plants that were so important they were in the title, but Paula’s connection to Mauro’s plants, or even the point of their existence, was never established or explored.

I don’t know, maybe the prose is just too intellectual and symbolic for me; all I know is nothing was explained and the lack of information or depth made this a pointless read for me.

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