Dying in the City of Flowers Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Dying in the City of Flowers

Five Star, Jan 2003, 26.95, 200 pp.
ISBN: 0786247665

In 1980s Houston, Texas, sixteen-year-old Viola marries a Peruvian greencard seeker nicknamed El Rey. They live in deplorable conditions when she gives birth to his son. Unable to cope with the deteriorating situation that she only wants to improve, Viola moves out with plans to divorce him, raise her son alone, and attend college. However, El Rey harasses Viola sending Child Welfare to inspect her and making calls to upset her. He consistently breaks into her apartment, but the police cannot help her with his stalking because she remains married to him.
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El Rey rejects divorce so he abducts their son, taking the lad back to Lima in order to punish his misbehaving wife. Viola follows and even sees her frightened son in a government office, but cannot reach out to comfort him and is warned by a politician to leave now or disappear in the jungle forever. Knowing she needs a plan, Viola reluctantly returns to Texas, but six months later is back with a ploy to rescue her son or die in the attempt.

DYING IN THE CITY OF FLOWERS is a gritty first person fictionalized account of a true story. By having the heroine narrate the tale, readers see deep into the soul of Viola while also observing her maturing. This perspective also has the downside of painting El Rey and his Peruvian family and friends as uncaring villains rather than fully showcasing a culture with a different attitude. Similar to Betty Mahmoody's Not Without My Daughter, Victoria Edwards Tester provides a powerful story of a mother's courage and love.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Dying in the City of Flowers

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 50%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Crime plotlets:    -   vigilante getting revenge    -   escape/rescue from kidnappers General Crime (including known murderer)    -   Yes If story PRIMARILY about main chr. being hunted...    -   hunted by dangerous boy/girlfriend/spouse

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   business executive Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Texas The Americas (not US):    -   Yes The Americas:    -   South

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Victoria Edwards Tester Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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