Around the House and in the Garden by Dominque Browning
I was racing out of the house for a weekend trip this summer and could not find my regular book. I glanced at one of the many stacks under my bed and grabbed the first thing I saw that looked interesting. The funny thing is I do not know where I got this book originally. I have no memory of buying it or borrowing it or finding it. So there it was--the fairy book.
Ms Browning is the editor of House and Garden magazine and at the publishing of this book (2002) was the divorced mother of teenage sons. The book was essentially a rough chronological collection of the essays and columns she wrote for her magazine. Each chapter read like an 800 word column. The chapters were short and pointed and sweet, and it really was the perfect summer read when my attention was busy slogging off into sun drenched beaches and amusement parks.
The general theme of almost every chapter was the healing she needed to go through as she was experiencing her first years as a divorced mother of two boys. Each chapter focused on some part of her house or garden that she needed to fix up or she let sit in disrepair. She wrote of her fireplace and her dining room and the need to curl up and wallow in her bed. She wrote of the love and care she put into her garden and into the raising of her boys and the sadness of having to part with them for half the week as they traveled to their father's house.
It was a book about grief and lonliness, and I found its lessons sweet and comforting. I liked it because I felt like it was something that I could write and that I could relate to. Although it hasn't rained a bit around here for days, it is the perfect rainy day read. It is gloomy, but there's plenty of hope, insight, and creativity to fill you up.
Since this was published in 2002 it might be a bit hard to find in bookstores. Try your library. I would be glad to lend this one if anyone wants it.