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This charming, funny story tells of a widow and her struggle to continue life with her two young daughters. Lilian, an illustrator, is tasked with drawing vegetables for an upcoming book, and so enrolls in a gardening class. There she meets a group of very different strangers, all of whom touch her life. This quirky novel is full of humor, joy and hope.
May 2017 Indie Next List
“Lilian Girvan is a young widow going through the motions: mother of two, newly unemployed, and navigating life's daily aggravations. When she grudgingly signs up for a weekly gardening class, she's surprised to find support, wisdom, and the possibility of a new relationship. Lilian is a funny, sassy everywoman who will make you laugh out loud, cry a little, and cheer as she takes tentative steps toward her own small beginnings of happiness. Abbi Waxman's debut novel will be enjoyed by fans of The School of Essential Ingredients and anyone who believes that happiness can be a choice regardless of what life brings.”
— Cindy Pauldine, The River's End Bookstore, Oswego, NY
“A quirky, funny, and deeply thoughtful book”* that’s “filled with characters you’ll love and wish you lived next door to in real life”** from the author of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill.
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...
READERS GUIDE INCLUDED
About the Author
Abbi Waxman, the author of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, Other People's Houses, and The Garden of Small Beginnings, 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 to write fiction. She has three daughters, three dogs, three cats, and one very patient husband.
Praise for The Garden of Small Beginnings AN INDIE NEXT PICK
“Brilliant. Simply brilliant. The Garden of Small Beginnings is funny, poignant, and startling in its emotional intensity and in its ability to make the reader laugh and cry on the same page...I loved this book!”—Karen White, New York Times bestselling author of the Tradd Street Novels
“If you’re looking for a summer beach read with meat, this might well be your book...Waxman develops and explores the characters and their relationship in depth...with moments of humorous writing.”—The Washington Post
“This is my favorite kind of book—hilarious, sad, joyful. Beautifully written. Fun. I dare you not to enjoy it.”—Julia Claiborne Johnson, author of Be Frank With Me “What a treat!! Abbi Waxman is one of the wittiest voices in the world today. The Garden of Small Beginnings is a beautiful book full of humor, heart, and deep insight. An intimate and hilarious journey about a young mom moving on from grief. Reading it gave me the feeling I was talking to a really funny, open mom-friend sharing secrets about life, love, loss, and gardening! Abbi Waxman’s quick wit and heart shine brightly throughout this debut novel. I just loved it!”—Molly Shannon, actress
“Funny and poignant. Guaranteed to make you laugh and cry. May make you want to play in dirt and grow a new life of your own.”—Wendy Wax, USA Today bestselling author of One Good Thing
“Waxman's skill at characterization...lifts this novel far above being just another 'widow finds love' story. Clearly an observer, Waxman has mastered the fine art of dialogue as well. Characters ring true right down to Lilian's two daughters, who often steal the show. This debut begs for an encore from Waxman.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Waxman takes readers from tears to laughter in this depiction of one woman's attempt to hold it all together for everyone else only to learn it's OK to put herself first.”—Booklist
“Kudos to debut author Waxman for creating an endearing and realistic cast of main and supporting characters (including the children). Her narrative and dialog are drenched with spring showers of witty and irreverent humor, which provides much respite from the underlying grief theme.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“The Garden of Small Beginnings is a quirky, funny, and deeply thoughtful book....We’re already dying to know if there will be a sequel.”—HelloGiggles
“Waxman’s voice is witty, emotional and often profound.”—InStyle.com (UK)
“This novel is filled with characters you’ll love and wish you lived next door to in real life.”—Bustle
“Sorrow is usually an occasion for sobs instead of laughter, but Waxman manages to wring many funny and poignant moments from a sober situation.”—Augusta Chronicle
“Lilian Girvan, the central character of The Garden of Small Beginnings, is an illustrator, a mother, a sister, a budding gardener, and a widow, and her perspective on how she’s doing with each role doesn’t always match up with what readers can see around her. But that trait makes her a more interesting and realistic protagonist, and along with the book’s humor and eccentric supporting cast made it a great read.”—BookRiot
“Abbi Waxman artfully tackles grief with humor in her debut novel.”—Signature Reads
“It’s impossible not to fall in love with Lilian, a young widow who is still trying to come to terms with the death of her husband four years later....If you are thinking to yourself ‘forget it, I’m not reading a gardening book’—don’t worry...THIS IS NOT A GARDENING BOOK! It IS, however, a feel-good, hate-to-put-it- down, kind-of-book!”—Chick Lit Central