• Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening

  • How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart
  • By: Carol Wall
  • Narrated by: Cynthia Darlow
  • Length: 6 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (129 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

A bestseller in the making, this is the true story of a unique friendship between two people who had nothing - and ultimately everything - in common.

Carol Wall, a white woman living in a lily-white neighborhood in Middle America, was at a crossroads in her life. Her children were grown; she had successfully overcome illness; her beloved parents were getting older. One day she notices a dark-skinned African man tending her neighbor's yard. His name is Giles Owita. He bags groceries at the supermarket. He comes from Kenya. And he's very good at gardening.

Before long Giles is transforming not only Carol's yard, but her life. Though they are seemingly quite different, a caring bond grows between them. But they both hold long-buried secrets that, when revealed, will cement their friendship forever.

©2014 Carol Wall (P)2014 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"In this profoundly moving memoir, Owita teaches Wall how to find grace amid heartbreak and to accept that beauty exists because it is fleeting - as in her garden, as in life." (People, 4 stars)

"A perfect spring awakening." (Good Housekeeping)

"With her children grown and out of the house, Carol Wall is obsessed - perhaps overly so - with ripping out her azaleas. That is, until she meets a certain Giles Owita, Kenyan gardener, supermarket bagger, general-life philosopher and perhaps one of the most refined and gracious characters to ever hit the page (except that he’s real).... A warning for the shy: The basic goodness of Owita’s attitude may cause you to beam spontaneously as you read, leading to off looks from strangers at the coffee shop." (Oprah.com)

What listeners say about Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

More endearing friendship than love of gardening.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book but more as an endearing tale of a great friendship over common interests like gardening and the common life challenges we all face than anything having to do with cultivating a deep love of gardening. That theme seemed far secondary in the story than that of true and deep relationships. Carol Wall has written a nice book and Cynthia Darlow did a very good job with the reading. My only critisim is that the title did seem a bit misleading. A good listen however.

What about Cynthia Darlow’s performance did you like?

I think it is very difficult to constantly shift between accents and Cynthia Darlow does a great job.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Learning to Love and Live in the Infernal Azaleas.

Any additional comments?

Like the azaleas you may dislike or think ugly, life too has its moments of full and glorious color. And dispite all evidence to the contrary you can learn to love, appreciate and LIVE with the seasons of both.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Grace, Acceptance and Beauty

Any additional comments?

This is my first review but I was compelled to write it. This profound memoir illuminated how to find grace, acceptance and beauty in the triumphs and tragedy's of our lives. The author, Carol Wall, paid a heart-felt tribute to a very extraordinary, ordinary man. The narration with the superb Kenya accept only served to elevate the story to an even higher lever. This is a book you can't put down and you won't forget.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Southern Soap Opera, no Sex

I was hoping for a lot more gardening talk and a lot less sob story. A sheltered woman whose yard is a mess borrows a neighbor's gardener and fails to recognize his intelligence, even though he is an esteemed Ph.D in Horticulture. He is black and from Africa, which effectively denies him a suitable job in the American South, so he is gardening and being wise and amazing this silly woman, who wrote a sappy book about their friendship and their respective illnesses. I'm sorry I bothered with it.

4 people found this helpful

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Sorry, I cannot recommend

Perhaps this book would have been better if I had read it. The reader's slight Southern accent (which was accurate for Roanoke) rubbed me the wrong way. I only finished it because it was a book club selection.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Loved Mr Owita

A pleasant story. All the plant into intertwined with the characters made for a great read.

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Book so so at most

Any additional comments?

This book was so predictable that it was sad. Some of the characters accents were off. They were supposed to be from Africa and they sounded Asian. Very distracting to me. Maybe would have enjoyed the story better reading it.

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favorite & unfavorite

When Carol found the size six dress!
The unbelievable delays in Luck being able to come to the states.