#BookReview: The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

the garden of small beginningsAbout the Book

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…


I had a good time when I started reading this book. Lilian was an immediately likeable character, a widow still trying to come to terms with her husband’s sudden death and raising their daughters on her own. I liked the gardening bits in the book and that they didn’t overwhelm the story, just made a nice addition to it. About halfway through the book started to feel very long. I was still being entertained and Lilian had some funny moments throughout the book, but I had to start speed reading after still reading this four days in, compared to finishing a book in my normal two days. I enjoyed The Garden of Small Beginnings, but I wish it either would have been shorter or more fast-paced to better keep my interest.

3.5 stars

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