Praise for Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs
As the obituary writer for the local paper in Haines, Alaska (population 2,400), Heather Lende knows a thing or two about life and death and dealing with the unexpected. Her first book, If You Lived Here I’d Know Your Name, painted a beautiful and honest picture of small-town life and drew raves from reviewers. Now in paperback, Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs conveys the importance of spirituality and community in life’s lessons.
Lende has always been in tune with the ebb and flow of death; but five years ago, she experienced it on a more personal level when she had a near-fatal accident—she was, quite literally, run over by a truck. A year later, she lost her mother to leukemia. Her miraculous survival and months of bed rest were the start of renewed reflection. And after the physical healing, Lende realized she needed some healing of an emotional kind, too. Once again, she turned to the residents of Haines— her neighbors and friends—this time, focusing on faith, spirituality, and life’s little pleasures.
She tells us about the Tlingit totem pole crafted to relieve the town’s grief; the medical relief team worker who helped in the aftermath of the Indonesian tsunami; and the hospice patient who is dying of cancer, but smokes anyway. With each story of love or loss, there is also prayer. It frames every experience and gives meaning and hope to humanity. By drawing on faith and on the strength of those around her, Lende soon learns to forgive, to grow, and to rejoice.
“The book is full of vivid characters (a librarian who collects overdue books in person) and strange, sad deaths. Lende is not one for looking back. She has a simple, chatty style most readers will find oddly comforting. Life does, in fact, go on.”
—Los Angeles Times
“An uplifting, even cheerful book. Lende has a knack for subtly illuminating the remarkable in the commonplace, the transcendence in tragedy.”
“Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs is about her community and her family, the supporters who helped her get back on her feet with love, compassion, faith and humor.”
“Here is the real thing—good old-fashioned American values coming from small-town Alaska. In a cozy, chatty voice, Heather Lende tells stories of life in Haines, Alaska.”
Heather Lende is a regular columnist for Woman’s Day magazine and has contributed to the Christian Science Monitor, NPR’s Morning Edition, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Alaska Magazine. Her column in the Anchorage Daily News was awarded the Suzan Nightingale McKay Best Columnist Award by the Alaska Press Club.