Thursday, August 9, 2012

Into The Garden With Charles: A Memoir by Clyde Phillip Wachsberger

Reviewer: Bob Lind, Echo Magazine
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, April 2012
Pages: 224

Clyde was a quiet boy, fascinated by the vast variety of flowers and trees, and appreciating artwork that depicted their beauty. Coming of age during the Stonewall era, Clyde knew he was gay, but falling in love (or even having sex) always took a back seat to his horticultural interests, and friends and acquaintances accepted that he was a loner. When visiting a friend in Orient, on the North fork of Long Island, he fell in love with an old, historic house with overgrown shrubs and trees, and bought it on impulse. The house's garden became his mistress, and he was happy, but lonely, in his world. A friend convinced him to answer a personals ad, and he was stunned to find a kindred spirit in Charles, who had a similar interest in unusual and beautiful plants and trees, and they soon settled in to a life together.

The book is very well written, generally a positive life lesson on following your dreams, though it also has its share of disappointments and adversity. This is ideal for someone who, like the author, has a keen interest in unusual plants and trees, but the horticultural detail given may tend to diminish the enjoyment for those who, like me, have trouble distinguishing plants from weeds in a garden. Overall, four stars out of five.

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