Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
by Barbara Kingsolver
Oh Barbara Kingsolver, you are so amazing and brilliant… wait, I mean condescending. Sorry for the snarky comment, but after awhile her attitude was a bit much for me. Yes, the lifestyle she advocates is a wonderful idea, but having someone tell you over and over again that you really have to grow your own food because fast food is bad for you gets old fast. I just wanted to yell “WE KNOW!”
It’s not a bad book, it’s just, most of what she says feels like common knowledge and she just comes across as so self-congratulatory. I also don’t think it’s feasible for many people to pack up and move from Arizona to the Appalachian mountains in order to grow a garden, which is what she and her family do.
Most people in America (at least most of the people who are reading books like her’s) already understand that buying local is better for the environment, economy and our personal health. We know that working in a garden can be hard, but it’s also rewarding. We know that it’s not impossible to eat all local foods, but it can be difficult.
My parents are living a very similar life. They raise their own chickens for eggs and meat. They grow all their own veggies, do their own canning and make their own jams. So maybe I’ve just heard all of this before. I really loved learning more about the process, I just would have enjoyed it more without the patronizing style of the book.
There are certainly things I liked about the book. I think Kingsolver is right when she says that having a family dinner together is important. I also love how she teaches her kids the importance of these things.
I love that she reminds us good things are worth waiting for. I think it’s also interesting that she emphasizes the value of cooking from scratch and notes that it has become a negative thing because it makes women seem “domestic” which is “bad” in America.
I definitely learned some new things from the book and I appreciate that, I just wish it had been written in a slightly different way.
BOTTOM LINE: If you’re interested in growing and raising your own food and curious about the ins and outs of the process then this is a must. If you already have a good base of knowledge and understand that a farmer’s market is a good place to shop, skip it.
*Photo of Kingsolver and her family