This journal of a comically obsessed gardener chronicles not only the plantings, prunings and what "went bust" but also the emotional divagations of a hip New Yorker transplanted to California. Gardening metaphors abound here to illuminate the author's relationships with her divorced parents, the challenges of siblings and her mixed emotions about an imminent marriage to her longtime companion. Frustrations lurk, both personal and garden variety, especially in the garden where she works so hard "and it still looks like hell." Among gardening tips and rose obsessions are wry observations about sisterhood and the comic aspects of the forthcoming wedding. Spiegelman, an assistant director and a member of the Director's Guild of America, writes knowingly of the travails of responsible adulthood in a way that is appealing to women. (Oct.)
Poor Annie finds so much to complain about-her past, her job, her garden, her shrink, her relatives, her fianc. "Everything sucks," she writes, "especially this stupid garden journal." For one year, while tending her California garden, Spiegelman muses about growing up in a broken home in New York City and vying with her three sisters for the love of an angry mother and an absent father. When her companion of seven years proposes, she worries for months because marriage "means fighting, leaving, and broken promises." Spiegelman's hostility, depression, and negative attitude pervade the book. Her rambling, unpolished style is laden with recurrent clichs and vulgar slang. Not recommended.-Ilse Heidmann, San Marcos, Tex.