Rummanah Aasi

Description: Lilian Girvan has been a single mother for three years—ever since her husband died in a car accident. One mental breakdown and some random suicidal thoughts later, she’s just starting to get the hang of this widow thing. She can now get her two girls to school, show up to work, and watch TV like a pro. The only problem is she’s becoming overwhelmed with being underwhelmed.      
  At least her textbook illustrating job has some perks—like actually being called upon to draw whale genitalia. Oh, and there’s that vegetable-gardening class her boss signed her up for. Apparently being the chosen illustrator for a series of boutique vegetable guides means getting your hands dirty, literally. Wallowing around in compost on a Saturday morning can’t be much worse than wallowing around in pajamas and self-pity.
   After recruiting her kids and insanely supportive sister to join her, Lilian shows up at the Los Angeles Botanical Garden feeling out of her element. But what she’ll soon discover—with the help of a patient instructor and a quirky group of gardeners—is that into every life a little sun must shine, whether you want it to or not.

Review: Lilian Girvan is a young mother of two young girls and a widow who saw her husband die in a car crash not far from their home. This sentence alone might deter readers from picking up Waxman’s debut novel, but The Garden of Small Beginnings is not as sad and depressing as it sounds but actually full of laugh out loud, wry humor and an optimistic viewpoint of  how there is plenty of great things in life after the horrible, crappy, sucky moments pass. Yes, it is a story of grieving, but also about living life again.
 After Lilian lost her husband and sought help, she is back on her feet making her living as an illustrator and picking up after her adorable daughters. While she does have set backs and flashes of her loss, she does what she can to move forward along with the help of her devoted and spunky sister Rachel. What Lilian is adamant is not wanting to start a new relationship and feels she is not ready, but fate has other things in store for her.
 When Lilian's company is closing Lilian’s department, leaving her with one final assignment: to illustrate a series of vegetable gardening books for Bloem Company, obliging her to attend a six-week Saturday morning gardening class taught by Edward Bloem. Without her realizing it the Garden Club changes Lilian and it's my favorite part of the book. The group consists of diverse people from a variety of ages and backgrounds. Over their initial misunderstandings they quickly bond over the pleasure of planting seeds and the hope this inspires. And a tingle of interest begins between Lilian and Edward, which of course I wanted more of but I understood that Lilian needed to take baby steps before opening her heart. Though the plot is straightforward its characters brings it to life especially Lilian's precocious daughters who steal the show for me time and again.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and a scene in a strip club. Due to mature themes I would recommend this to adults only.

If you like this book try: The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate, Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer

2 Responses
  1. I am glad you enjoyed this one, Rummanah. I loved the garden group as well, they were my favorite part. I loved the way the came together like a family.

  2. This sounds like a sweet book and one that many of us could learn from--take the time to slow down and appreciate that which is around us.

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