Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

The Garden of Small Beginnings is simply awesome.  A gem of a book, exquisitely constructed and very witty. I may even add this book to my Top 20 (although I haven't yet decided what I would be prepared to remove).

The author blurb will give you a touch of what I mean:

'Abbi Waxman is a chocolate-loving, dog-loving woman who lives in Los Angeles and lies down as much as possible.  She worked in advertising for many years, which is how she learned how to write fiction.  She has three daughters, three dogs, three cats, and one very patient husband.'

After each chapter there is a page that deals with growing vegetables – quite why I'm not sure – but the author lets her wit shine through here as well.  Not only were these pages entertaining – they also inspired (or re-inspired) a wish to do a bit of gardening.

As a sample, here is  what she says about growing cabbages:

'Start cabbage seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost, assuming you know when that is.

·         Put them outside a week before you want to put them in the ground, to harden them off and get them excited about the wider world they're about to inhabit.
·         Put them in the ground 2 or 3 weeks before the last spring frost, so they're good and settled before it comes and startles them.
·         Plat 12 to 24 inches apart in rows, depending on size of head desired.  The closer you plant, the smaller the heads.
·         They are many, many ways to prepared cabbage, most of them delicious.  If you think cabbage is smelly, it's because you've been overcooking it.  Cook it for too long and it produces hydrogen sulphide, presumably as a comment on your cooking skills.  Sorry but that's how they roll.'

But all that is just the appetiser, the main course is the story. The author of Be Frank With Me (another good book) is quoted on the cover as saying 'this is my favorite kind of book – hilarious, sad, joyful.  Beautifully written. Fun. I dare you not to enjoy it.'

I couldn't agree more.  Get this book and enjoy all the characters – especially Lilian.

One small postscript – there is a sprinkling of bad language in the book – but I didn't find it at all gratuitous.  There is no x-rated content. 


  1. This book sounds like one I would like to read, and being on your top 20 list is high praise indeed. But oh, the sad book that would be bumped off the list, I guess you could have a top 21.

  2. I like the fun part of it.

  3. Carole, I decided to buy a copy, thanks for pointing it out to me. I see it is about a widow and grieving and yet fun too, so want to read it.


Your comments are most welcome. I have currently disabled anonymous comments due to unwanted spam. Cheers