Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Review: The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

Title: The Garden of Small Beginnings
Author: Abbi Waxman
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publish Date: May 2, 2017 (Yesterday!)
Source: Publisher

What's the Story?:

From "Lilian Girvan has been a single mother for three years—ever since her husband died in a car accident. One mental breakdown and some random suicidal thoughts later, she’s just starting to get the hang of this widow thing. She can now get her two girls to school, show up to work, and watch TV like a pro. The only problem is she’s becoming overwhelmed with being underwhelmed.

At least her textbook illustrating job has some perks—like actually being called upon to draw whale genitalia. Oh, and there’s that vegetable-gardening class her boss signed her up for. Apparently being the chosen illustrator for a series of boutique vegetable guides means getting your hands dirty, literally. Wallowing around in compost on a Saturday morning can’t be much worse than wallowing around in pajamas and self-pity.

After recruiting her kids and insanely supportive sister to join her, Lilian shows up at the Los Angeles Botanical Garden feeling out of her element. But what she’ll soon discover—with the help of a patient instructor and a quirky group of gardeners—is that into every life a little sun must shine, whether you want it to or not…"

My Two Cents:

In "The Garden of Small Beginnings," Lillian went crazy after her husband died suddenly in an accident almost right in front of their family home. Left with two young kids, Lillian is un-moored. She is finally coming to terms with her new life as a widow and a single mom when her job as a textbook illustrator drives her to take a gardening class, something that she never would have done on her own. The class will force her to confront what it means to move on and what it means to make a new life after unspeakable tragedy.

I loved Lillian! She is such a great character. I cannot imagine losing my husband and losing all of the things that we have planned for the future. Lillian is confronted with that reality and while it takes her awhile to come to terms with what her future might look like, she does it with a constant sense of humor. I appreciated that although the book starts out with a very sad event, the author is able to turn it around and show the positive way to move on no matter how long it takes to get there.

This book isn't just about the relationship between husbands and wives. It is about a lot of different kinds of relationships. Lillian has the fortune of having an amazing sister, Rachel, who helps her a lot. This book is also about the relationship between mothers and children. Lillian's children are dealing with the loss of their father in their own way, helped by their mother and their aunt.

There is also the aspect of the garden theme throughout the book. Yes, Lillian literally goes to a gardening class in the book but their is also the metaphor of Lillian starting out like a bare garden, not wanting to put herself out there, not being able to imagine a fruitful life without her husband and then finding out that there is a way to begin again!


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