Waking Up In Eden by Lucinda Fleeson
Lucinda spent much of her career in journalism. When her paper began downsizing and things began getting uncomfortable at work, she knew she needed something different. Always a fan of gardening around her own house, Lucinda found her something different when an old friend, Bill Klein, invited her to join him in his work at the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Kauai as the foundation’s fundraiser.
“Waking Up in Eden” is Lucinda’s memoir of the time that she was in Kauai. It was an interesting mix of a personal and professional memoir. Fleeson shared a good deal of information about the National Tropical Botanical Garden, its history, internal politics, and mission. She also talked a lot about the history of Hawaiian plant life and how it has been degraded. Amongst all of this, some of her personal interactions with people unrelated to her work seemed a little random. These sections made sense by the end, looking at Lucinda’s personal growth while with NTBG, but they definitely weren’t my favorite parts.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, although I definitely preferred the sections dealing with the National Tropical Botanical Garden and Hawaiian plant life. The one thing I would have liked to see included is illustrations or photos of some of the different plants, even in black and white. I find the descriptions of the plants so interesting, but had no idea what they looked like and wasn’t always near my computer to look them up.