Well-paced story of loss, and lov­ing again

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Reads - Re­view by TRACEE M. HERBAUGH

WIDOWHOOD was forced on Lil­ian Gir­van with­out no­tice.

Her hus­band Dan was struck and killed while jog­ging through the neigh­bour­hood one day. The tragic ac­ci­dent left Lil­ian and the cou­ple’s two young daugh­ters behind to nav­i­gate a new way of life with­out him.

Lil­ian’s widowhood and her en­deav­ours in sin­gle par­ent­ing form the ba­sis of The Gar­den Of Small Be­gin­nings.

Abbi Wax­man – mak­ing her de­but with this book – came up with the premise af­ter a fight with her own hus­band.

It was one of those fights so heated that Wax­man thought – for just a split sec­ond – that life would be fine if he were dead.

Wax­man, a mother and for­mer ad­ver­tis­ing copy­writer, ran with the idea and de­vel­oped a story for a woman in this sit­u­a­tion. The re­sult is The Gar­den Of Small Be­gin­nings.

“It’s been more than three years since my hus­band died, yet in many ways he’s more use­ful than ever,” Lil­ian nar­rates in the book.

“True, he’s not around to take out the trash, but he’s great to bitch at while I’m do­ing it my­self and he’s gen­er­ally ex­cel­lent com­pany, in­vis­i­bil­ity not­with­stand­ing.”

An il­lus­tra­tor by trade, Lil­ian is as­signed to draw pic­tures for a gar­den­ing text­book. To do re­search for the project, she takes a six-week gar­den­ing class that’s filled with a hodge­podge of stu­dents – some old, some young, but, most no­tably, a crush de­vel­ops be­tween Lil­ian and the man teach­ing the class.

If you’re look­ing for a sum­mer beach read with meat, this might well be your book.

Wax­man ex­e­cutes a novel that is in­ter­est­ing and easy to fol­low, if some­what pre­dictable. Chap­ters are punctuated with gar­den­ing tips, tech­niques and com­men­tary that keep the story’s pace mov­ing.

“In many ways, turnips are the unsung he­roes of the root crop uni­verse,” Wax­man writes.

“They don’t have the ad bud­get pota­toes have, or the glam­orous ap­pear­ance of car­rots but they shouldn’t be un­der­es­ti­mated.”

The Gar­den Of Small Be­gin­nings Au­thor: Pub­lisher:

Wax­man de­vel­ops and ex­plores the char­ac­ters and their re­la­tion­ship in depth and leaves the reader with a clear pic­ture. If the subject mat­ter sounds heavy, Wax­man bal­ances it with mo­ments of hu­mor­ous writ­ing and some read­ers may ap­pre­ci­ate that not all the loose ends get neatly tied up in the end. – AP

Meet Lee and learn about the Per­anakans’ rich culture at BookFest@ Malaysia on July 1. — Filepic

fic­tion Abbi Wax­man Berkley,

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.