Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart
by Carol Wall
Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, 2014
source: borrowed from the library
Summary (from goodreads):
Carol Wall, a white woman living in a lily-white neighborhood in Middle America, was at a crossroads in her life. Her children were grown; she had successfully overcome illness; her beloved parents were getting older. One day she notices a dark-skinned African man tending her neighbor’s yard. His name is Giles Owita. He bags groceries at the supermarket. He comes from Kenya. And he’s very good at gardening.
Before long Giles is transforming not only Carol’s yard, but her life. Though they are seemingly quite different, a caring bond grows between them. But they both hold long-buried secrets that, when revealed, will cement their friendship forever.
I hadn't heard about this book before reading BermudaOnion's review, but Kathy made it sound like exactly the kind of memoir I tend to enjoy. My decision was made when I realized it was also an Amy Einhorn book.
From the title, you might think this is a book about gardening, but in reality gardening only serves as a backdrop for the blooming friendship between Carol Wall and Giles Owita. Wall's story is open, honest, and touching. It also provides the opportunity to pause, reflect, and possibly re-evaluate the garden of your own life.
I had come to a gradual acceptance that I was "that lady" - the one who drove slower than all the impatient younger folks on the highway, the one who younger man found invisible, and who reminded younger women of their mothers. But instead of resenting that shift, I decided to embrace it. In our youth- and health-obsessed culture, it was either win or lose, and I decided not to play that game at all. The contest was rigged anyway -- because everyone, sooner or later, was going to age out of the running. So I decided to just get over myself. The world would not end if I had a bad hair day or didn't monitor every bite of food that went into my mouth. (page 204)
"Oh, many, many people speak too soon," Giles said. "And those who know a little less speak even sooner..." (page 242)
In every moment there exists a lifetime. Every day brings something good! (page 287)My rating: