Work of Art: An Intention of Flowers
by Ken La Salle
My rating: 5 stars
Series: Work of Art - Book 1
Publication Date: November 1, 2017
Publisher: Ken La Salle
Genre: Adult /Older YA Fiction
Print Length: 249 pages
Thick tempera paint.
A parking lot filled with history, fear, and regret.
A young man named Joseph Arillo sits in the parking lot and paints the pavement with flowers.
And Andy Hollis steps in it.
As the new art teacher at Santa Ana High School, he’s too curious about Joseph’s Flowers and unravels both of their lives in his pursuit for answers.
He learns that it’s all part of a rite of passage, an absurd test started by Joseph Arillo’s father, the suspiciously world-renowned artist named only Tom. Which also connects to the drama teacher at Santa Ana High, Katie Bustos. Whose daughter, Desiree, may or may not be dating Joseph. Who is putting himself in danger from a local gang, the lot’s mysterious history, and the police.
Andy puts himself in danger of losing his job, his home, and his freedom. If he can’t solve the riddle of Joseph’s Flowers, both of their lives will go up in smoke – despite any help from Winny, the old, Slovakian bureaucrat at school, or his students, or Tom himself.
But is Tom trying to help? And is Joseph really up to his father’s test?
And is Andy really fit to be a teacher? He doesn’t understand kids, can’t get to school on time, and… doesn’t appear to care about art or families or anything. But Joseph’s Flowers will challenge everything Andy believes: about himself, about the world, and most importantly of all about art.
Before Andy and Joseph are finished, they will witness the power art has to provide inspiration, to waken our hearts, and to shatter everything you ever believed about humanity.
An Intention of Flowers is the first book in a 5-book series, modestly titled Work of Art, about growing into the person you always wanted to be, making the most of what you have to give and not just what you have, and the power in each of us when we chose to be ourselves.
Work of Art: An Intention of Flowers by Ken La Salle
Remember that teacher that cared? The one that went beyond classroom educating and became a teacher of life through caring and example? Andy Hollis was “accidently” that teacher. He never started out meaning to feel for his students or to see them as young adults struggling to spread their wings or to find their place in life. He certainly never expected to advocate for their individuality, and then he met Joseph.
Joseph wasn’t even one of his art students, but he was a boy on a mission to both please his father and pass a test of his commitment to art, a rite of passage so to speak. Andy found Joseph on his knees with coarse paint brushes, paint and a plan to cover the lot with his art. Under his patient hand, flowers came to life. Who knew such simple beauty would spark a tsunami of emotions, from pain to anger to awe? Who knew those simple flowers on concrete would light a fire of inspiration in the heart of a middle aged man whose zest for life had only been a spluttering match on the verge of going out?
Ken La Salle’s AN INTENTION OF FLOWERS is, in itself a work of art and inspiration that is hard to dismiss without awakening both the reader’s rapt attention and sense of the frailties of humanity that can be so easily dismissed through our own narrow interpretations.
With a rainbow of characters, unlikely allies will come together for one goal against all odds. Andy’s eyes and heart will be opened to the real meaning of art and its ability to evoke emotion, courage and sense of freedom, as well as a sense of camaraderie. Joseph encompasses youth, fledgling determination and inner strength as he attempts the near impossible task before him.
Moments of comedy, moments of revelations and even some jail time make this tale a heartwarming and completely engrossing read as Mr. La Salle opens not only his characters’ eyes, but his readers to the magic of expression that goes beyond the obvious. Within these pages lay another hidden gem that begs to be read and will be remembered! Perfect for all ages, but I really think this is something young adults will “get.”
I received a complimentary copy from Ken La Salle. This is my voluntary review.