Sunday, July 12, 2015

Unlikely Lavender Queen

My most recent garden-related read, The Unlikely Lavender Queen by Jeannie Ralston, was a book that I chose hoping I'd get some pointers in lavender cultivation.  Lavender production tips didn't seem like they were the primary purpose of the book, but truthfully, when you buy most of your reading material at Half-Price Books, you can't be that picky about where you get your information.  And I'll state here and now that while it is a great read, you aren't going to learn much more than you probably already know about lavender.  Well, except the factoid of which town was ALMOST named the official Lavender Capitol of Texas before the Texas legislators chickened out. 

As I stated, The Unlikely Lavender Queen is a really good read, published in 2008, by a really good writer.  Jeannie Ralston has an impressive resume of writing essays for multiple famous periodicals like Allure and National Geographic, and her writing style reflects it.  From a reader's standpoint, this is an enjoyable, easy-to-follow autobiographical work and it would make a great "book club" read.

In short, the book is a woman's journey along her life path as she tries to find herself, make a family, and find ways to tolerate the wild whims of her nutball husband.  I confess that during most of the book I constantly wondered why Ms. Ralston didn't divorce the guy.  Please note that last brutal assessment is the conclusion of another eccentric husband (me).  In short, Ms. Ralston was a modern New-York-City-loving feminist who fell in love with a talented National Geographic photographer, marries him, has two boys, and is dragged from New York to Austin and then to 200 acres and a remodeled stone barn near Blanco, Texas, all while her career suffers and she suffers from being repeatedly dislodged.  Although I referred to the husband as a nutball, he seems to be a nice guy, but he has wield impulses, like creating a lavender farm, that Ms. Ralston can't effectively oppose.  So she gets dragged along, and, at the books conclusion, he's also sold their homestead and lavender enterprise and moved her to Mexico with the boys.  Like Jeannie, I couldn't believe that a marriage counselor sided with him on that one.  I also still can't believe Ms. Ralston went along with him.  Seriously, I think Mother Teresa would have told him to hit the road at that point.  Mrs. ProfessorRoush would surely have kicked my butt from here to sundown, provided she hadn't smothered me in my sleep at many prior junctures of this story.

You'll enjoy the read as a bibliophile, but anyone with remotely militant feminist leanings will throw it across the room after every chapter.  Consider yourself warned.

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