Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Review: One Writer's Garden: Eudora Welty's Home Place by Susan Haltom and Jane Roy Brown

One Writer's Garden: Eudora Welty's Home Place by Susan Haltom and Jane Roy Brown
Published by: University of Mississippi Press
Published on: September 1, 2011
Page Count: 304
Genre: Biography
My Reading Format: PDF downloaded from NetGalley
Available Formats: Hardcover

My Review:

In the preface, authors Susan Haltom and Jane Roy Brown mention that Henry Mitchell at the Washington Post called Welty a "rose gardener, realist, storyteller of the South." I'm familiar with many of Welty's stories, and since my visit earlier this year to her home in Jackson, Mississippi, I've seen the garden in person, and it's beautiful. I come from a family of folks with green thumbs and nice yards, and I hope that I'll have a yard myself one day. So far I've only managed to live in neighborhoods where the homeowners' association maintains everything, and right now that is fine with me. However, I have an appreciation for pretty yards that can be admired from porches and enjoyed all year long. Haltom and Brown maintain that as Welty worked she was inspired by what she was seeing outside her windows.

Haltom and Brown spend some of the book talking about places in Welty's work where she writes about landscapes and gardens, and if what she was writing about was taken specifically from what she was seeing in her own yard as she wrote that particular story. I found this particularly interesting. The book also focused on Welty's biographical information, some of which was new to me (particularly her romantic relationships). And, this book would be a great read for the gardener who wants to incorporate plants from the first half of the 20th century into their yard or know more about the history of garden clubs in the United States. The authors included detailed information about what Welty and her mother planted and when, which could be extremely helpful to some readers. 

My recommendation is to read this book if you're interested in any of the areas I've listed above. The book covers a lot of ground and does it well. The beautiful photographs included are expected for a garden book, but they are still wonderful.

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