“The Garden of Small Beginnings” by Abbi Waxman

32570475Lilian is grieving over the loss of her beloved husband for the last three years. She was suddenly left all alone, with two girls and without the love of her life, her friend and companion, Dan. She is working as an illustrator in a publishing house and part of her job turns out to be a gardening class every Saturday, as part of a coming project. She is happy to take it, along with her two girls and her sister, Reichel.

Reichel is the most supportive sister out there. She has taken over responsibility of the kids when Lili was not in position to think of anything but Dan’s loss. She is very close to her sister and the little girls, as if forming a family of their own. She has also lost a friend when Dan was killed in that accident, but even though she is the youngest sister, she was the strongest one.

Lilian, Reichel and the girls, show up in the Los Angeles Botanical Garden one Saturday morning, to learn about plants and make new friends. This class is like nothing they ‘ve done before.

Abbi Waxman has done a terrific job creating the characters of this book! Lili is sad and tip toeing on madness, because of all the sudden grief she had to go through, by witnessing her husband’s accident and not being able to do one thing to help him come back to life. The whole emotional frustration she has been through is visible in between the lines and through her thoughts. It is a very sensitive subject to write and read on, therefore sometimes tears come to the reader’s eyes, yet it is very supportive in learning on how to process all this pain. The main character’s feelings are well described and it could be anyone in her shoes, even though nobody wishes that to people.

The author has created a very supportive gardening class, showing that people from different backgrounds, can have common interests and become friends with people they would never talk to let alone spare a glance. However, when there is good will all along and the innocence of little children, solid bridges are being built and friendships that can last forever.

Apart from the grief and the sadness, the author put a lot of love and humor in it as well. There are some really funny scenes that will make the reader to laugh and feel a part of it. Not only that, but given that it is about human relationships, the reader can also be frustrated a bit. Anything can happen in life, all we need to do is take it in, and if we fall, we just simply need to stand again! We cannot control everything, neither can we help everyone stay untouched by unpleasant situations. But what we can do, is offer our shoulder for a friend to cry, give them a big hug and a little push to move forward!

The whole book is easy to love, as everyone in it. They could be real people living among us. They could be our neighbors or completely strangers. They could become our friends!


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