“Betty’s (Little Basement) Garden” Book Review
by David Fiedler
While millions of people have used marijuana, only a relative few have tried to use it as a springboard for fictional adventures, and most of them have done that in the context of crime (the “evil drug dealer” stereotype, a la Weeds) or humor (the hippie/counterculture/stoner/musician stereotype; think Walk Hard or any “stoner movie”). Hardly anyone has given much of a thought to medical marijuana in this context, and certainly not a mainstream novelist…until now.
Laurel Dewey, the author of the popular Jane Perry detective series, has just released Betty’s (Little Basement) Garden, a novel about Betty Craven, who is a prim and proper middle-aged beauty queen. Betty goes through some serious life changes to find that new beginnings for her involve things she didn’t think would ever be part of her life: love and medical cannabis. It’s a drama, a romance, and a realistic look at medical cannabis, at least the way it’s practiced in Colorado. Or as Laurel herself says, “It’s a love story about a woman, a man, and a plant.”
Betty’s (Little Basement) Garden is not a hit-and-run attempt by a well-known author to capitalize on the popularity (or notoriety) of medical cannabis. Betty’s (Little Basement) Garden actually came about when author Laurel Dewey went through some similar mind changes as Betty. Like Betty, Laurel lives in Colorado and ended up learning all about and working with cannabis herself. While doing research for this book, she consulted with cannabis experts including Ed Rosenthal, Jorge Cervantes, Old Hippie, Rick Simpson, and Steve DeAngelo. So both Laurel and “Betty” are totally legit.
The book isn’t a slam-dunk for medical cannabis either, pulling no punches as both careful, legal patients and somewhat more shady characters appear. This is all based on Laurel’s actual experiences and conversations with people she met who were working, medicating, living, and sometimes dying in Colorado.
The end result is not only a successful and compelling novel, but also a springboard for important conversations all across America. Cannabis, used responsibly and medically, is also being used safely, effectively, and legally by over a million patients in a growing number of states. These patients, sharing their stories with their families and friends, will enable other people to change their viewpoints. Buying, reading, and talking about Betty’s (Little Basement) Garden will let you join them in their struggle to free this plant from the stigma and propaganda that has stifled scientific knowledge for 75 years.