Waking Up in Eden
In Pursuit of an Impassioned Life on an Imperiled Island
By Lucinda Fleeson
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Paperback, 9781565124868, 310pp.)
Publication Date: June 2009
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Native plants are dying at an astonishing rate Hawaii is called the Extinction Capital of the World and invasive species (plants, animals, "and" humans) have imperiled this Garden of Eden. Fleeson accompanies a plant hunter into the rain forest to find the last of a dying species, descends into limestone caves with a paleontologist who deconstructs island history through fossil life, and shadows a botanical pioneer who propagates rare seeds, hoping to reclaim the landscape. Her grown-up adventure is a reminder of the value of choosing passion over security, individuality over convention, and the pressing need to protect the earth. And as she witnesses the island's plant renewal efforts, she sees her own life blossom again.