Backyard is a hilarious tale of a gardening competition that sets neighbor against neighbor in a bid to have the best garden in Livia. The characters are all a hoot: Dr. Phyllis Sproot, a self-proclaimed expert on gardening (who gets her PhD from a six-week mail-order course in horticulture), Marta Poppendauber, who has a garden that is a beautiful mess (and drives Dr. Sproot nuts), and George and Nan Fremont, who spend all of their time working in their glorious backyard garden, or sitting on their deck sipping gin and tonics and staring at their glorious backyard garden. These characters are such fun in their dysfunction. And we all know people like this, too.
I was laughing out loud at the hijinks that happen in Livia as the day of judging draws near and the competition escalates. Dr. Sproot guilts Marta into spying on the Fremonts and engaging in secret forays to destroy their garden, little by little. I'll leave you to discover just how comical Marta is--let's just say she's no Jane Bond. And best of all, the Fremonts are completely oblivious to Dr. Sproot's machinations.
So who wins the competition? Is Dr. Sproot's sure-fire garden combination of yucca-coreopsis-salvia-hollyhock destined to be the winner? Or will Marta's English countryside garden take the top spot? Or do the Fremonts win the big pot?
This really is a fun book to read. Anyone who loves to garden will completely understand this book. Anyone who wants a good laugh will enjoy this book. And anyone stuck under a blanket of snow will certainly read this book and immediately start perusing the seed catalogs and planning their garden. It's a lighthearted look at people's obsessions and just how far we will go to be number one. Sit back, enjoy and dream of summer.
Rating: 7/10 for a very funny look at gardening and competition. The characters are a stitch!
Available in paperback and e-book.