Bam cooks the books ;-)'s Reviews > The Garden of Small Beginnings

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman
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really liked it
bookshelves: book-club, library-book, humor, 2019-reads, chick-lit

*3.5 stars rounded up. This is the pick for my library's Reader's Roundtable group read for January, 2019, to kick off the new year and is Waxman's debut novel. I have previously read her second novel, Other People's Houses, and enjoyed that one, and looked forward to reading this story with great anticipation.

Through the first thirty pages or so, I have to admit I was thinking, Boy, she is trying way too hard to be funny! But Waxman finally settles into her story, which is about a young widow with two daughters, still struggling with her grief over her husband's gruesome death after nearly four years.

All of Waxman's characters are delightful and likable...well, except perhaps for her mother, who has mastered the art of the nasty zinger. Abbi's writing is insightful as she addresses several personal issues: mainly grief and when/how to move on after a loss, but also the dynamics of sibling relationships, dealing with a narcissistic mother, and raising children alone.

Lil and her sister and children attend a Saturday gardening class for six weeks and meet several interesting people. One lesson they learn along the way is that you can't judge a book by its cover--or people by their appearance.

The plot was perhaps a little lame--you could see where this story was going to go by its title--but it was a very poignant, warm-hearted and fun read, told with lots of humor. As Lilian says: "Laughter was the thing that held me together, sarcastic comments and stupid jokes." I actually know a couple who got through the wife's last days of ovarian cancer with humor and jokes. He said: "Damn, Woman, are you going to leave me to deal with a Trump presidency alone?" And she responded, "You better believe it, Mister! I'm outta here!" God bless her soul!

PS: As a bit of counterpoint: my book club universally dismissed this book as being too 'lightweight,' the characters stereotypical, and thought the subject of grief was handled too flippantly but agreed that how one deals with grief is a personal matter. They did like the sibling relationship between Lil and Rachel and found that authentic but thought the characters in general could have been developed more fully. So there you go.
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Reading Progress

December 17, 2018 – Shelved
December 17, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
December 17, 2018 – Shelved as: book-club
December 17, 2018 – Shelved as: library-book
December 17, 2018 – Shelved as: humor
January 16, 2019 – Started Reading
January 16, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019-reads
January 16, 2019 – Shelved as: chick-lit
January 16, 2019 –
page 53
14.4%
January 17, 2019 –
page 121
32.88%
January 18, 2019 –
page 221
60.05%
January 19, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Paula (new)

Paula Kalin Outstanding review, Bam!


Bam cooks the books ;-) Paula wrote: "Outstanding review, Bam!"

Thank you so much, Paula!


message 3: by Felicia (new)

Felicia Terrific review, Bam 💖


Bam cooks the books ;-) Felicia wrote: "Terrific review, Bam 💖"

Thank you, Felicia! x


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