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My Garden (Book)
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My Garden (Book)

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3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  238 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
One of our finest writers on one of her greatest loves.Jamaica Kincaid's first garden in Vermont was a plot in the middle of her front lawn. There, to the consternation of more experienced friends, she planted only seeds of the flowers she liked best. In My Garden (Book): she gathers all she loves about gardening and plants, and examines it generously, passionately, and wi ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 15th 2001 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published November 1st 1999)
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Community Reviews

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Alasdair Pettinger
Jun 02, 2012 Alasdair Pettinger rated it really liked it
A quotation from Kirkus Review on the back cover of my copy calls this book 'quirky'. This is true, on different levels.

Perhaps the most distinctive formal feature is the deliberately excessive use of parentheses, as if the author has set herself the task of illustrating all the different purposes they can serve (clarifying an ambiguous pronoun, glossing an unusual word or phrase, explanation, qualification, specification of relationship, narrative digression, and so on), extending to the very
...more
Jenny
Jun 24, 2015 Jenny rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book for different reasons, which shift depending on the section of the book. This first section appealed to me as a gardener; Kincaid writes about her history with gardening, her gardens, and her homes. This section may appeal only to gardeners. The next section fascinated me because of Kincaid's focus on colonial history; she made intriguing connections between gardening and colonization. I think this section would appeal to and interest anyone. The last section was more of a tr ...more
Lauren
Jun 16, 2015 Lauren rated it liked it
I liked certain parts of the book, like the historical stories about colonialism and the links between cultivation in both the sense of gardening and creating culture. However, I think she is creating a very difficult subjectivity that is both third world victim and first world privileged jerk that is extremely hard to take for many readers.
Erica
May 26, 2014 Erica rated it really liked it
So silly, lovely, and provocative, often all in the same sentence. She captures the idiosyncrasies of gardening, colonialism, travel and control with really unassuming grace...i loved it.
Debra Hale-Shelton
Sep 28, 2007 Debra Hale-Shelton rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Liberal Gardeners
I absolutely adore this collection of essays about the famous writer's own gardens. Jamaica Kincaid creates on paper and creates in the ground. I love her disdain for some flowers, her defense of others -- namely the Sweet Annie, one I bought myself a couple years ago simply because my daughter is named Annie. We planted it, and it grew like a weed -- just like Annie. I wrote an essay about Sweet Annie. .... Kincaid wants seed; she gets it, whether through seed catalogues or through a seed-colle ...more
Irene
May 22, 2014 Irene rated it really liked it
This book is great for northern New England gardeners and inspired me to go to the Chelsea Flower Show.
Donna Orazio
I don't think anyone in the group liked this book!


Book Club Read -between 1/2002 and 11/2004
Maggie Adams
Mar 30, 2014 Maggie Adams rated it really liked it
I love the author's "voice" and her feisty, blunt observations and reflections on gardeners, generally and personally. I do wish I knew more of the plants she mentions. Definitely would like to read more of her stuff in the future.
Britt Wood
Jan 15, 2014 Britt Wood rated it it was ok
This book was beautifully written. Kincaid's impossibly long sentences were poetic, she writes in an almost free verse, transcribing her thoughts as they come to her. Despite this, I found the entire book incredibly tedious. Perhaps because I'm not much of a gardener?
Joan
Apr 15, 2015 Joan added it
just okay
David Ward
Jan 19, 2016 David Ward rated it did not like it
My Garden (Book) by Jamaica Kincaid (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 1999)(635) is hard to classify. It's not a gardening book or a book about gardens. It's probably closer to a memoir. Nothing about the writer's descriptions of herself or her life were interesting enough or compelling enough for me to engage. My rating: 1/10 (which ties with one other book of almost two thousand I've read for the lowest rating ever assigned a book), finished 3/26/12.
Carol
Oct 02, 2009 Carol rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Jamaica Kincaid, Vermont resident who teaches at Harvard, writes as though she is transcribing thoughts as they form in her brain...the longest sentences I've ever seen (and I've seen some long sentences)...about her passion gardening, her loosely constructed gardens at her home, the people who help sustain her garden and her travels to exotic places seeking seeds of the native plants of far lands.
Michaela
Nov 22, 2008 Michaela rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone even remotely aware of plants and/or gardens
Shelves: memoir, favorites
Delightful! Not advice or hints on gardening, so don't look for them. But read it, regardless. You won't be able to anticipate what she might say about her garden. At times memoir, other times social/historical commentary, her ambivalent, unapologetically biased writing in this (book) is always delightful and powerful.
Jen Mercaldi
Jun 26, 2008 Jen Mercaldi rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes to garden, or is learning to garden (and who likes Jamaica Kincaid)
I'm still reading it, but I'm really enjoying it. Will use it for reference when I actually have my own garden. She referrs to a lot of flowers she likes and good catalogs to order from. I absolutely love her writing style and this book doesn't dissapoint. It's a first edition, signed copy, so I can't loan it out - sorry!
Joanna
Nov 08, 2007 Joanna rated it really liked it
I've had this book and picked it up off myself for the third or 4th time. For some reason I never got through it before even though her writing. Anyway, since the seasons are changing and I'm watching my little garden plot drop, drop and drop again it's nice to read about another obsessive gardener.
Peg Lotvin
Mar 22, 2012 Peg Lotvin rated it it was ok
I should have known by the title. Ms Kinkaid uses parentheses in nearly every sentence. How annoying!!! I loved her book on trekking in the Himalaya looking for new plants, but this one was terrible. Really want to take back that second star.
Ricky
Jan 02, 2015 Ricky rated it really liked it
Loved this book! Such winding prose, interesting garden history, poignant observations of colonialism. I wish I knew flowers better so I could picture what she was talking about! This is my first Kincaid book and in excited to read more.
Brierly
Not exactly a novel, more of a collection of thoughts Kincaid has about her own garden, gardening itself, and gardening as representative of colonization. This book originally appeared serialized. Three stars.
Donna
Apr 05, 2008 Donna rated it it was amazing
I was just going through some old books when I came across this treasure. It's been many years, but I still remember her love of Joe Pye weed and her loathing of breadfruit, and the reasons why. I loved this book.
Joanna
Nov 12, 2007 Joanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gardening
Delightfully vibrant. Jamaica Kincaid writes all about her experiences planting her garden. I bought this book shortly after hearing her read aloud from her book Annie John at UVM, she was incredible.
Aurora Billings
Jul 23, 2007 Aurora Billings rated it really liked it
even if you are not interested in gardening or plants, this is a beautiful book. kincaid is like a poet and her tale of travelling to france, to visit monet's garden is truly enchanting.
Scott
Sep 28, 2009 Scott rated it did not like it
Not enjoying this book very much. Finding the prose difficult to get through. Not capturing my interest. Will probably put it down and find something else to read.
Tracy
Feb 15, 2008 Tracy rated it liked it
This is an extraordinary book, part memoir of her personal history with gardening, more so a powerful analysis of colonization from one of its subjects.
Maria
Aug 30, 2011 Maria rated it it was amazing
This book is in my heart, I read it like poetry. This has remained on my night table for 9 years now and will be there for many years to come.
Paula
Jul 15, 2008 Paula rated it really liked it
Her obsession with gardening surpasses mine, but I still find myself thinking about this book while I am out in my garden working.
Wanda
Sep 28, 2008 Wanda rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
I liked some parts of the book but, as much as I tried, could not really like the author. It was very distracting.
Stephanie
Aug 01, 2007 Stephanie rated it liked it
Shelves: hatedit
This book takes a lot of thought, but once I realized it was just about a garden, it took on a new life.
Blackbook
Apr 27, 2009 Blackbook rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening, 2009, bio
Not a book with garden hints. A book about her garden and other observations. Short and pithy.
Sara
Jan 21, 2009 Sara marked it as to-read
I bought this book in preparation for loving my new yard.
Lara
Aug 21, 2007 Lara rated it did not like it
I just about hated the author by the end.
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Jamaica Kincaid is a novelist, gardener, and former reporter for The New Yorker Magazine. She is a Professor of Literature at Claremont-McKenna College.
More about Jamaica Kincaid...

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