When I first tracked down this book in Barnes & Noble, I was surprised at the size of it. It. Is. TINY. The cover; it’s kinda twee. And it’s short stories, of the sort that connect to form one narrative, but still. Short stories. I wasn’t sure about it but my Debi had it on my 50 books to read list, so, I put my trust in her and got it.
She was so right. This book is just so Me.
It all starts with a vacant lot and a small girl with a desire to find a connection to the Vietnamese father she never knew. A few seeds are planted, and they start a chain-reaction that grows into something amazing. Each story, each character, builds on what this small girl starts, turning a few rows of peas into a garden, into a community, into a neighborhood. Souls are healed, couples are (hopefully) reunited, reasons to live are found, and families are saved for another season. Thirteen stories are contained in this very slim volume, but believe me, they pack quite the punch.
What I love the most is, yes the gardening aspect, but also the way Fleischman brings together all these different people – the old and the young, Hispanic, African American, white, tough, troubled, lonesome – and shows how they can all get along, that they are just alike, down in their very souls, that they have at least the basic need to provide for themselves and to find purpose in life, and he does it with so few words. Every word has its place and not a word is wasted. These people work together, in ways they never dreamed, to turn a trash-filled inner-city abandoned lot into something immeasurable. They learn to communicate, something we could all stand a lesson in at times.
What a great book. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Debi for bringing this dear book into my life. I’m sure I’ll be reading it for years to come.
Dogear Diary loved it too!
Chris at Stuff as Dreams read it because of Debi too! And of course, he loved it too!
Becky from Becky’s Book Reviews liked seeing how the garden changed the community.
I bought this little jewel for my birthday.