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Around the house and in the garden : a memoir of heartbreak, healing, and home i
Dominique Browning
Adult Nonfiction HQ814 .B78 2002

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From Publishers' Weekly:

When Browning and her husband of 15 years divorced, she kept the house and garden they had shared in Westchester, but for a long time she was too depressed to care about where she lived. Gradually, she begins to see that working on the house she had neglected and transforming it into a home again is a way to recover from her despondency. In these short, elegant essays, Browning, a former editor-in-chief of House & Garden, muses on the aspects of domestic life that revived her and shows how she healed her heart and her home at the same time. That symbol of doomed love, the master bedroom, for example, she had abandoned. She fills the bathroom with comfortable furniture and flowers and learns to enjoy lounging in the tub while looking out the window at the moon. A garden bench, a fireplace, chairs grouped together for companionship, the long-neglected garden, impractical objects like a grand piano or ornate candlesticks, the kitchen, a place for companionship as well as "a nice place to be lonely" all these she comes to revere. Soon even the moss-covered bricks in her crumbling driveway delight her, as do ordinary rituals like weeding the garden, planting a tree and cleaning her closets so she can enjoy the memories they contain. Browning has written a warm and graceful paean to the commonplace, imbuing everything she contemplates with magic. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Browning used her monthly columns in House & Garden as a starting point for this home-improvement memoir. Ironically, she began working as editor in chief at the magazine around the time that her own home was falling apart owing to divorce. Browning demonstrates how one's emotional state is reflected in the state of one's home. Her essays take us through her sadness as she recovers from heartbreak and goes about the task of refurbishing the half-empty house. She draws the reader into her ache as she honestly explains her difficulty in facing the master bedroom, choosing at first to sleep on a futon on the floor. We understand her joy as she fills her bathroom with luxurious things (an armchair, fresh flowers, and a soft rug) then ends up sharing it part-time with two small boys. Finally, we revel in her triumph as she pulls herself together and makes a home so comfortable and inviting that her teenage sons even welcome their friends there. With its pensive tone, decorating comments, and inspirational story, this is recommended for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/01.] Bonnie Poquette, Shorewood P.L., WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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