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Garlic Is Life Paperback – March 1, 1996


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The Amazon Book Review
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Loosely the story of how a divorced, middle-aged Jewish professor of English moved from San Francisco to rural Sonoma County, California, and found fulfillment in the ups and downs of garlic farming, this intensely personal narrative describes the interplay of generations and cultures in Northern California. It should have particular appeal for garlic heads, would-be writers, middle-aged men in transition, feisty septuagenarians, and touchy-feely types. Along with fiercely prejudiced discourses on garlic, Chester Aaron presents his sentimental story in crisp, no-nonsense prose loaded with Woody Allen-esque asides and self-deprecating observations. The book ends with 40 recipes.

Review

Aaron grows over thirty garlics from seventeen countries: this blend of garlic cultivation tips, folklore, and use advice includes more than thirty garlic recipes, but is most noted for its wealth of growing tips and its approach to garlic appreciation. A whimsical and practical memoir with recipes, this will appeal to any prior garlic fan. -- Midwest Book Review
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (March 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898158060
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898158069
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,139,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
78%
4 star
22%
3 star
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See all 9 customer reviews
It was very informative, yet very personal.
pirate fan
His love of Garlic is only matched by his love of a richly varied life.
R. Martin
An absolute must for the Garlic aficionado.
Michael Trudeau

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Charles E. Walter on July 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an autobiographical slice of Chester Aaron's life as he waas intoduced to garlic growing and became a garlic devotee. Aaron and his cat take the reader into the world of garlic,its many varities, and how to best grow these bulbs of life. At the end of the book are thirty recipes for tasty garlic dishes. It is a very readable primer on garlic growing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Martin on January 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
Chester Aaron has something for everyone. His love of Garlic is only matched by his love of a richly varied life. The receipes are are a little simplistic and really a sidebar to the real story which is Aaron himself. I am buying several copies to Give to friends. This book is not a loaner
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Trudeau on September 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have had the pleasure of interviewing Chester on my gardening show on a couple of occassions and found him charming, enlightening and certainly passionate about his garlic. I was thouroughly pleased when I found the book to be an extension of his interviews. This man at 80 something is more full of life than most twenty year olds and he exudes this energy and love of life into print in a way that makes you feel that you are in the field talking with him rather than reading a book. The recipies were devine. An absolute must for the Garlic aficionado.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Kourik on April 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
Take a good helping of witty memoir, add a handful of very useful gardening/farming information, & a huge heap of garlic (and recipes) and you have a marvelous book. Highly recommended.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By B. Yelverton on August 3, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading Chester Aaron's Symptoms of Terminal Passion I needed to read a little more. Aaron's Memoir is a little premature, because his is still living and growing garlic more than 10 years later, using the garlic theme in all he writes.

It was fascinating seeing the real-life background for the stories I had read. I'm also looking harder for different kinds of garlics, and even tempted to try to plant a clove or two in one of the pots on our patio.

Strangely, I was reading this at the same time I read Out Stealing Horses: A Novel by Norwegian writer, Per Petterson. It was amazing how the two books complemented each other!

Both are written in the first person in beautiful, engaging prose. (Horses is so well translated that you don't notice that it was written in another language, except for the occasional Norwegian place names.)

Both utilize many flashbacks to childhood, Petterson's Trond mostly to 1948 in alternate chapters, Chester to the 30's in Pennsylvania.

Both have moved to the country to start over after losing their wives: Chester after a devastating divorce, Trond after a horrendous car accident.

Both recall strong relations to difficult fathers, who continue to influence the way they try to create new lives as 70-something "old men." (Their mothers are lurking in the background.) Both fathers are still lurking to show how to do practical things on their farms.
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