Margot's Reviews > The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72

The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock
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May 18, 11

Read in May, 2011

The story of Mary Delany is true but it reads like a great historical novel. The New York Times said it read like a Jane Austen novel. I'm not sure I agree. Mary Delany was a strong-willed woman who managed to do very well in spite of whatever negatives life may have thrown at her. It's a life to be examined and works of art to be enjoyed.

Every word, sentence, and paragraph of The Paper Garden reads like a well-crafted prose or poem. This is Molly Peacock's art form, her craft, and she's very, very good at it. In this book Ms. Peacock talks about the art of Mary Delany but also about the importance of art or craft in one's life that I completely agree with.

In The Paper Garden the author tells us in great detail about the life of Mary Delany and a little bit about herself. I liked that. Molly Peacock made this biography personal and linked it to herself and to me.

Speaking of personal, there's the fact that Mary Delany's best known work didn't begin until she was in her seventies. You can be sure I saw the parallels to my own life. Who can say that a person in their seventies or eighties or nineties can't do intricate art work? Thank goodness Mary Delany didn't believe that.

Every time I open a new book I wonder what kind of new friend I'm going to meet inside. In The Paper Garden I met two new friends that I like equally. I want to spend more time with them. In the book I have lots of passages with sticky notes for re-reading. This book is thought-provoking as well as meditative. I also want to find some prints of Mary Delany's flower collages. And then, I'm going to read more of Molly Peacock's writings. Yes, it was that kind of book for me - a window-opening book. And I want more.
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