BOOK REVIEW — Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Iconic Poet by Marta McDowell (2019) published by Timber Press. Nonfiction.

Quick Summary: High-quality photos, design, layout + jam packed with info about Dickinson, gardens, flowers, literature and poetry. Extensively researched by an expert gardener; this book is most about Dickinson’s influences for literary/poetic analysis. It’s not a gardening tip book in this way, but perfect for nature enthusiasts or fans of Dickinson. See slides on Instagram (@ahomelibrary) for examples of pages.

“Emily Dickinson was a keen observer of the natural world, but less well known is the fact that she was also an avid gardener. Tracing a year in the garden, the book reveals details few know about Dickinson and adds to our collective understanding of who she was as a person. By weaving together Dickinson’s poems, excerpts from letters, contemporary and historical photography, and botanical art, McDowell offers an enchanting new perspective on one of America’s most celebrated but enigmatic literary figures.”

Review

I love plants, and I love gardens… and I love literature… and I love Emily Dickinson. Combined, I am very happy. So, I found this book to be:

1) highly informative: the extensive research that went into this is obvious, gives a lot of validity to the analysis;

2) beautiful/visually appealing: I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful pictures, botany photography, the design and layout of this book. I would describe this book as “collectible,” as indicated by its high quality of research and visual appeal, it would make a good addition of a home library;

3) Literary Value: I believe I gained some insight on Dickinson’s life and the influences impacting her. At the very least, I was able to see someone else’s perspective on Dickinson’s work, and then from there, I expanded my own understandings. I don’t know everything about authors or their work… so, I find that reading books done like this (not highly academic but facts based) is helpful.

Recommended for: gardening/flower/botany/plant enthusiasts, literary/poetry or Dickinson enthusiasts. Currently has 4.16 ⭐️ rating on GR.