Sunday, July 5, 2020

The Garden of Small Beginnings (Abbi Waxman)

My first impression of Abbi Waxman's The Garden of Small Beginnings was that it was trying too hard to get laughs. But as I settled in with it, I began to understand that humor was really the main character's coping mechanism for dealing with grief.

Lilian Gervan is an illustrator with two children who also watched her husband die in a car accident three years ago in front of her. After a complete breakdown, she tries to pick up the pieces of her life and move forward as best she can. When a new illustrating project opens up at work, Lillian is asked to take a Saturday gardening class for research. She grows close to her fellow classmates, and even finds herself attracted to the instructor. 

The Garden of Small Beginnings is really unique book. Waxman is not asking her readers to feel sorry for Lillian. Instead, we root for her as she gets a little stronger everyday. At times laugh-out-loud funny and other times heartbreaking, this is a great feel-good book for any time of year.