Author: Abbi Waxman
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Berkley Books (May 2, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Women's Fiction
My Rating: 5 Solid Stars!
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…
It isn't often anymore that I connect so well with the characters of a story that they truly not only seem like friends and family, but that I'm so sad when it is over because it means that I will never see them again. It is also rare that I stay up late into the night reading because I love the story and characters so much and yet, Abbi Waxman managed to do both of those things for me with her debut novel The Garden of Small Beginnings.
I am so glad that Heidi at Rainy Day Ramblings recommended me this story because honestly, I was asked to read it before and turned it down because it sounded sad and a bit depressing and while there are sadder moments in this story, it is about grief after all, there are so many happy and funny moments that they outshine anything else.
I connected with this story, right from the beginning on a level that I honestly, wasn't expecting. I teared up, I laughed, I cried, I smiled but most of all through it all, I was rooting for every single character I met (expect maybe Dirto).
This wasn't a story about one women but instead a story about many people. Diverse people that come together in a tiny space of time and truly become so much more to each other. In fact, they become so much more than friends but instead, a family. A very diverse, crazy family and it couldn't have been more beautiful.
Waxman created something beautiful in this story, so much more than how to move on or about grief. It's about being strong when you have to but realizing you don't always have to be strong. About coping and growing and becoming something so much more than you were before. Truly one of the best stories I've read in a really long time.
*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*