The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi WaxmanFollowing on the heels of some very heavy reading, this title was an absolutely delightful read.  Lillian, a recent widow raising two young daughtersin Los Angeles, finds herself at a crossroads between staying mired in grief or moving forward into a new and unexpected future.  Supported and encouraged by her outgoing and flirty sister Rachel, Lillian must come to terms with how she’s handling her husband’s death and its effect on her girls. 

Working as an illustrator, Lillian is assigned to a vegetable gardening book, complete with homework in the form of a community garden project.  These Saturday morning meetings at the local botanical garden include an assortment of characters that begin to pull Lillian out of her mourning and back to life.  Gardeners will appreciate the small segways between chapters that feature gardening advice laced with a bit of humor. Lillian is a mom who tells it like it is with lots of dry humor, sarcasm and the occasional expletive.  And anyone who’s cared for small children will appreciate her observations on motherhood.  Lots of LOL moments balance the grief and one passage had me laughing and crying at the same time. 

Readers will enjoy Lillian’s resilience as she navigates existing relationships and forms new ones, including a potential romance.  Handling grief is a very strong focus of this story but it's done sensitively and with enough lighthearted humor as to not make this a sad story despite the premise. I was sad to see it come to an end.  An excellent book club selection from this debut author, complete with Readers Guide discussion questions.   

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