Book Title: Digging In
Author: Loretta Nyhan
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Genres: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Pub Date: 04/01/18
Paige Moresco found her true love in eighth grade—and lost him two years ago. Since his death, she’s been sleepwalking through life, barely holding on for the sake of her teenage son. Her house is a wreck, the grass is overrun with weeds, and she’s at risk of losing her job. As Paige stares at her neglected lawn, she knows she’s hit rock bottom. So she does something entirely unexpected: she begins to dig.
As the hole gets bigger, Paige decides to turn her entire yard into a vegetable garden. The neighbors in her tidy gated community are more than a little alarmed. Paige knows nothing about gardening, and she’s boldly flouting neighborhood-association bylaws. But with the help of new friends, a charming local cop, and the transformative power of the soil, Paige starts to see potential in the chaos of her life. Something big is beginning to take root—both in her garden and in herself.
“Everything can be learned, you know? Some people learn sooner, others later. Not a big deal if the outcome is the same.”
Guys, this book wrecked me. I’ve been a fan of Loretta’s writing since her previous novel, All The Good Parts, was released. I was left itching for more of her witty charm and boy, did I find it here. Her novels are emotional for sure, but they still manage to deal with tough themes in an upbeat and hilarious way. When I pick up one of her books, I feel as though instead of reading the book, she’s relaying it to me over a glass of wine. It gives the impression we’re just two good friends curled up on the couch and she’s telling me the latest tale that’s manifested in her brain. It’s rare for this to happen for me, but when it does, these books receive an automatic 5 star rating and glowing review.
Before I jump into the book itself, I think it’s important to note that you’re getting as authentic of a story as possible when it comes to Digging In. Nyhan has written in detail about the experience on her Goodreads review of this book (found here), but I’ll give you the spark notes version. A few years ago the author’s husband left to play a round of golf and had a fatal heart attack right on the green. She took this experience and turned it into a novel about how to find yourself again when the unthinkable happens and how to work through grief when it feels as if there’s nowhere to go from there. If you are the type of reader who connects with fiction that is propelled by real experiences, this alone should put the book on your TBR.
“That’s the beauty of a garden,” she said. “Some stuff works, some stuff doesn’t, and some stuff you think isn’t working ends up producing the following year. Keeps you living in a constant state of suspense, so whatever comes, you’re grateful for it.”
If you decide to pick up Digging In, you’ll find our main character Paige is struggling to cope with the loss of her husband Jesse two years after the tragic car wreck that took his life. Her teenage son Trey is struggling in his own way too, and the mother-son relationship is taking it’s toll as well. The struggle is real all around folks. Paige has most certainly hit rock bottom when she suffers another tough loss and her job is on the line. After a hazy night of weepy drinking, she wakes up with a pounding headache and a giant hole in her backyard. What follows is a journey of new beginnings-new friendships, new hobbies, new opportunities, and new love. There is a whole lot of self healing, along with a healing that bleeds out into a myriad of other relationships too. By the end of the book, you’re left in a place of healthy, hopeful bliss, a place only Nyhan could take us to.
While this novel is for everyone, I do think a number of seasoned mothers and 40-somethings will really appreciate the themes and connect with the characters. There’s so much relatable here to the hard working female who has done her job well for decades, only to find herself being pushed out by the younger, fresh crowd. I know the overall theme of grief sounds heavy and depressing, but honestly it was a joy to read this story! I did shed a few tears, but the majority of the novel’s tone is upbeat and flat out hilarious. I was doubled over laughing, I was crying, and I was moved. I’m not sure what else I could want from a story, and for that reason alone I will sing Digging In‘s praises from the highest rooftop to anyone who will listen. Highly, HIGHLY recommended if you enjoy a feel good novel about love and loss. Don’t forget that this is a Kindle First pick for the month of March 2018; if you’re an Amazon Prime member that means you can download it this month for free! If you’re not a prime member, it’s only $1.99! ❤
*Many thanks to the author for providing my copy.