Book Review: Rhapsody in Green
Back in December, I listed a few books on my Christmas list that I hoped to get my sticky-from-all-the-mince-pies hands on and this was one of them. I’d not heard about Charlotte before but this title kept cropping up on my Twitter feed and book review sections of magazines so I thought I’d better give it a read.
What it’s about
Charlotte is a London-based novelist who is trapped between her insatiable addiction to gardening and the realities of a small back garden. Very few of us have the perfect garden and Charlotte captures the longing for more space, better harvests, less slug damage, and infatuation with catalogue descriptions. It’s a very real, very personal, diary.
The book is ordered into chapters covering early, mid and late periods of the four seasons. That’s where the structure ends, unfortunately. The sub-chapters are more random in their construction with topics seemingly placed without order. On its own, this isn’t a problem; it’s a good book for reading intermittently, and the variety would keep it interesting. My main issue is the topic creep. What starts off talking about compost might end, instead, discussing bees. This, as a spreadsheet and listmaker, I found irritating and a thorough editing would have improved it.
That being said, Charlotte is clearly a very gifted writer. Her sentences are rich with description and the tone throughout the book is engaging. Her observations are spot on and there’s humour throughout the book.
I like the list of other books that have inspired and informed her gardening; titled The Blacklist, ‘they will lead you astray; approach with caution’.
I nice read for someone who has a less-than-perfect garden and is looking for reassurance that it isn’t always like it says in the books. Engaging text but would have benefited from tighter editing to keep things on topic.