One Good Thing is a delightful hybrid of creative non-fiction and memoir coming into contact with the living, exuberant, and vulnerable natural world. Written in sixty short epistolary chapters, M.A.C. Farrant’s latest offering represents a search for hope and appeasement in a rapidly changing and often perplexing society. One Good Thing is also a book of homage to gardening columnist extraordinaire Helen Chesnut of Victoria’s Times Colonist, as each section focusses and expands on a particular gardening column of hers.
Using a familiar “Dear Helen” structure, almost every piece in One Good Thing intimately and playfully relates to the gardening article that gave rise to it while simultaneously ranging into myriad other topics, including the author’s creative practice, personal and familial details, and comic riffs on a number of close-to-the-heart themes. The book thrives, with a mindful persistence that’s often hilarious, on finding personal “calm abidance” through the practice of gardening as mediated by the universal and personal practice of writing.