Algonquin Books, May 2011
After a near-fatal bicycle accident in her tiny Alaskan town, bestselling author Heather Lende has an opportunity to contemplate faith and friendship, observe the breathtaking beauty of the northern wilderness anew, and truly come to appreciate the remarkable inhabitants of Haines, Alaska, without whom she could never have recovered. Lende's idea of spirituality is rooted in community, and her irrepressible spirit and commitment to living life on the edge of the world deepens our understanding of what links us all. Like her own mother's last instructions, ''Take good care of the garden and the dogs," Lende's writing, so honest and unadorned, offers profound lessons to live by. Here she reminds us (courtesy of Ralph Waldo Emerson) that "the proper response to the world is applause."
paperback | ISBN: 9781616200510 | Publication Date: May 2011
"Shortly after the publication of her first series of dispatches from "Small-Town Alaska," If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name, obituary writer and Anchorage Daily News columnist Lende got run over by a truck: "The back tire of the new king-cab, three-quarter ton Chevy pickup rolled right over my lap." In this collection of mordant but largely uplifting pieces, Lende recalls that near-fatal bicycle accident, and her slow return to health with the help of doctors, therapists, family, and friends. While considering the big questions of life and death, Lende introduces an eclectic cast of characters from a town of just 2,400, including Wilma Henderson, a "formidable farmwife and Presbyterian elder" who believes in "praying with your feet"; and Fireman Al, officially the volunteer fire department's training officer, but also the guy who responds to nearly every ambulance call. Though Lende indulges occasionally in mindless tangents, her charming style will keep readers attuned to her celebration of love, faith, and healing in a far-flung, tight-knit community."
-- Publisher's Weekly
"Lende has a knack for subtly illuminating the remarkable in the commonplace, the transcendence in tragedy ... Her voice, which
alternates between folksy and formal, playful and prayerful, entertaining and elegiac, is reminiscent of Garrison Keillor, Krista Tippett, Tom Bodett, Kathleen Norris, and Anne Lamott."
-- Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs celebrates the resilience of ordinary people, gathered together to help one another with the business ofliving and dying. Reading this memoir is like listening to an old friend."
"A multilevel look at serendipity, coincidence, irony and the power offriendship and faith."
-- Rocky Mount (NC) Telegram
"[Lende] conveys in her newest book the importance of spirituality and community in life's lessons."
-- Alaska magazine