I read this book as part of a Goodreads Challenge which required a book set in Hawaii. I’ve read a few such books, but quite honestly, there aren’t many set in Hawaii which also got great reviews, so I did a bit of digging and came up with Waking Up in Eden. As it turned out, it was a great choice.
In this memoir, Lucinda Fleeson has found herself without a job and the owner of charming New England garden cottage in suburban Pennsylvania. She’s forty-something, unmarried, and going through a mid-life crisis. Out of the blue, a job offer comes to assist with fundraising work for the National Botanical Garden in Kauai, Hawaii. She sells the cottage, puts her stuff in storage, and heads for adventure in the Pacific.
This book has a bit of everything. Her story of moving to Hawaii was interesting, including her first night in a falling down plantation cottage with brown water and rodents. I enjoyed hearing about the lifestyle on the island, it’s history and it’s people. And even more surprisingly, I was fascinated reading about the gardens, the science of botany and why we should care about it. Because before reading this book, I didn’t really care all that much. For an author to present a subject I had little interest in and change my opinion of it is quite a feat. Kudos to Lucinda Fleeson!
In spite of her foray into the science behind her work, I was never bored by this book. Quite the opposite, in fact. It was well-written, interesting, funny at times, and gave me real sense of place. Sitting outside on warm sunny day, reading this book, I could just picture myself in Kauai. And isn’t that just what you’d want out of a travel memoir?
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2009
Amazon Book Preview of Waking Up In Eden