During the Easter season our thoughts turn to spring and all things green. Deb in our Winkler branch came upon the memoir, Mr. Owita’s guide to gardening. In this memoir, Carol Wall recounts her friendship with Giles Owita, an immigrant from Kenya who works part-time as a gardener.
Wall asks Owita to help her reclaim her lawn, an eyesore that is becoming the worst looking yard on the block. Journal messages are exchanged, initially with landscape instructions, but soon they form a sharing supportive relationship. Despite their differences in race, personality, and background, both Owita and Wall carry family and health burdens that are lightened by sharing them. She is burdened by recurring cancer, aging parents, and an empty nest. He is strangely accepting of having left his family, being HIV positive, and holding a PhD in Horticulture which is not recognized in his new country. Through their friendship, both truly help each other—in real tangible ways that change each other and their community.
The character’s positive outlook and willingness to grow is part of the enjoyment of this book. If you enjoy inspirational memoirs or gardening books (or both), this heartbreaking yet heartwarming account of a life-changing friendship may be for you.