Mr. Owita’s Guide to Gardening

Jun 27, 2015 | Events

Carol Wall’s debut book, Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart, will be presented by the author’s widower, Dick Wall on July 9, at Livingston’s Elk River Books, 120 N. Main St. The event starts at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

The book relates Carol Wall’s unlikely friendship with Giles Owita, a Kenyan-born landscape designer who took on the task of rehabilitating Wall’s neglected yard in Roanoke, Virginia. More importantly, he tended to Wall’s wounded spirit. Diagnosed with cancer before she met Owita, Wall had begun to lose faith in her religion, humanity and herself. They subsequently created a bond that bridged their disparate backgrounds and taught them both about the wonderful secrets life has in store.

Dominique Browning of the New York Times Book Review writes, “You won’t learn much about gardening in this beautiful book … but you will put Wall’s memoir down with a new appreciation for how far roots can travel for nourishment, especially those that spring from our hearts.”

Named a top ten book of 2014 by USA Today and given a four-star review by People, the book was published just nine months before Wall passed away after a third cancer diagnosis.

Since then, her husband Dick has traveled extensively speaking at festivals and events. Son Chad and daughter-in-law Ashley have spoken with book clubs and have done media interviews in their mother’s stead. Daughter Jennie Gelfand manages her mother’s website and social media accounts, and another son, Phil, makes his mother’s promotional videos.

“What their family is doing is truly inspiring,” says literary agent Marly Russoff. “Had Carol lived to promote the book, she would have inspired people across the country. Her husband and children are aware that they had a special person in their lives and they want to carry on her message.”

The reading, held upstairs at the bookstore, will be followed by a reception and book signing. For more information, call 333-2330.


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