Click Here To Purchase Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs: A True Story of Bad Breaks and Small Miracles

Author: Heather Lende

Publisher: Algonquin
ISBN: 978-1-61620-051-0

Heather Lende, author of Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs, has been a contributor to NPR, the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, National Geographic Traveler, Women’s Day, and Country Living. Currently she writes a regular column, obituary section, for the Alaska Dispatch. (back cover, 2011) She and her family reside in Haines, Alaska. This is her second book. The first was titled If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name. For more insight into this author please log on to her web site at

Reading Mrs. Lende’s work invited me to reflect on some of the other greats who write in a similar vein, e.g. Garrison Keillor, etc. She has the same informal, friendly way of conveying her stories to the reader. That Mr. Keillor does. She’s folksy, personal, and witty in part, which makes you, as the reader, want to keep reading her tales and learn more about life in this not so populated, but ever so diverse, place.

Mrs. Lende, like most of us, has a life filled with trials and tribulations and those are the topics she covers in this book. Haines, Alaska, based on her descriptions, seems like a wonderful place to live and raise a family. There are equal amounts of trustworthy, quirky, loveable people that inhabit this cold and scantily populated coastal community. She manages to include them all into her book and tell us what makes them so wonderful, quirky, loveable, and trustworthy. Even the man who runs her over (and no I am not going to tell you all about this, you’ve got to read it for yourself) is not a person she writes ill things about. In fact, after she has recovered she seeks him out and makes personal amends. And, I might add, that this was no small accident either. Lende never makes herself out to be over or under any of the other people she lives near or comes into contact to. She is humble, approachable, and willing to go the extra mile to help out friends and newcomers alike.

Her poignant writing style gives us, as readers, snippets of life in this coastal town where hunting and fishing play large roles in sustenance of the families that reside there during the winter months. Lende introduces us to a culture, the Native Alaskans, that is multi-dimensional and inclusive. She portrays their customs and traditions in ways that we can actually visualize being there and taking part in their functions.

The nuances of these village people are nothing short of friendly, funny, and interesting to an outsider. There is a lot we can learn from how Mrs. Lende has handled the situations that affect her life, as well as, that of her family and friends. Her spiritual side is depicted and portrayed via a variety of actions and words that are not rooted in the church per sae, but in how one approaches and lives their lives to the fullest while appreciating those people, places, and the nature that surrounds you.

I enjoyed this book and believe you will too. Thank you Mrs. Lende for a very fun read!

Click Here To Purchase Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs: A True Story of Bad Breaks and Small Miracles