Review: Digging In by Loretta Nyhan

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☆☆➹⁀☆ 4.5 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

In author Loretta Nyhan’s warm, witty, and wonderful novel, a widow discovers an unexpected chance to start over—right in her own backyard.

Paige Moresco found her true love in eighth grade—and lost him two years ago. Since his death, she’s been sleepwalking through life, barely holding on for the sake of her teenage son. Her house is a wreck, the grass is overrun with weeds, and she’s at risk of losing her job. As Paige stares at her neglected lawn, she knows she’s hit rock bottom. So she does something entirely unexpected: she begins to dig.

As the hole gets bigger, Paige decides to turn her entire yard into a vegetable garden. The neighbors in her tidy gated community are more than a little alarmed. Paige knows nothing about gardening, and she’s boldly flouting neighborhood-association bylaws. But with the help of new friends, a charming local cop, and the transformative power of the soil, Paige starts to see potential in the chaos of her life. Something big is beginning to take root—both in her garden and in herself.

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My Thoughts:

Poignant, emotional and humorous come to mind when describing Loretta Nyhan’s novel, Digging In.  This is a tale of life after incomprehensible loss and the riches of starting over. Paige has tragically lost her husband, and two years later, neither she nor her teenage son are dealing with it well.  The house is a mess.  Their relationship’s strangled.  Paige’s job maybe in jeopardy.  What’s a woman to do when nothing is going right?  Start digging!

There is something for everyone in this book, however, it will likely appeal most to 40-somethings and moms of teens. It doesn’t take being a woman who has been around the block, had happiness, gotten pushed around, and overcame defeat to appreciate the emotions and humor of this book, but it doesn’t hurt.

I wouldn’t say I loved Paige, but I did empathize with her.  In fact, I’d say most of the characters are highly empathetic, and that is probably due to the subtle message that even the person who seems to have their act together, is probably dealing with some personal issue.

I did enjoy the humor in this story as well as the personal growth shown by many of the characters.  However, learning that the author started this book after tragically losing her husband really made this story come alive for me.  It is not obvious that Ms. Nyhan is writing from the point of view of her own tragedy, but having that information helped me feel the depth of the lead character’s sense of loss.  Ms. Nyhan clearly doesn’t take her subject matter lightly, but she is able to give her readers a story of loss that is fringed in enough humor to give us all a reason to be hopeful for second chances.

Narrated by: Mary Robinette Kowal


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