Culture Street

Books

Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening

On March 24, 2014

By Sophia Whitfield

There is a lyrical beauty to this book that sweeps the reader up and doesn’t let go. It is the true story of two people who find each other during a time of great adversity. Both learn valuable lessons from their newfound friendship.

Carol Wall has endured many health scares during her life. With each one comes further fear that her life is limited and her time brief. Her children have left home and her parents are a constant source of concern for her as their health begins to fail.

When Carol looks at her home of many years she sees neglect, particularly in her garden. Her next-door neighbor has recently employed Giles Owita, a South African man new to town, to help her and Carol sees the results daily. Finally Carol plucks up the courage to ask Owita to help her transform her garden.

Owita is a serene, accommodating man, eager to please. He holds a PhD and seems to Carol far too talented for gardening, yet outwardly he appears content pottering with ease in the gardens of his local community.

Soon an unlikely friendship blooms between Giles Owita and Carol Wall as they both work their way through their own tragedies. Through the cathartic process of gardening a bond forms. Barriers seem to break down, allowing both of them to share secrets from the past.

As Carol learns more about Giles Owita her own problems, which have overshadowed her life for years, seem to dissipate.

If you enjoyed Mr Rosenblum’s List you will love Wall’s Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening. It is a surprising, deeply moving story of unexpected friendship.

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