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She Writes Simple And Straightwrites simple and straight Her stories both long an short are well done But this book just really pissed me off It s a non fiction account of her back to the land movement with her family The book starts off well and good She describes their reasoning for leaving Tuscon a This book was one of my big disappointments so far this year because I went in thinking I d really like it and wound p so nimpressed that I think I actually hated it The Premise Of The Book premise of the book an interesting one so
interesting that I called my mother on the way back from the bookstorethat I called my mother on the way back from the bookstore tell her all about this new book I just picked p that I thought she d really like Barbara Kingsolver and her family have decided for various environmental political and health reasons to eat locally for a year and try and raise as much of their own produce and meat as they deemed feasibleKingsolver is a good writer and I ve enjoyed Animal Dreams and The Bean Trees so I assumed I would enjoy her adecdotes about her family s efforts to grow their own food supply What I ended p with was an essayist trying relentlessly to convert me over to her point of view America is bad cooking your own food is good be ashamed of your horrible non food cooking empty life I m exaggerating a little bit but not much Over and over again Kingsolver relates large scale problems in America crime addiction today to the fact that we no longer live close to our own food supplies She has some valid points but the holier than thou attitude ended p annoying me so much I couldn t make myself receptive to her message and instead devoted myself to picking apart her examples Also it felt like there was a subtle sexism going on with regard to a woman s place in the home Her husband may have made all the bread in their household but Kingsolver and her daughters were portrayed as doing most of the labor and cooking and as one point she talks about the deep contentment she gets out of Thanksgiving all the women in the kitchen working and gossiping together as they cook all the men outside pretending they can throw around a pigskin I think my favorite one though was when she said that women going into the workplace in the mid 20th Century was the reason why America s food culture devolved There was this sense that wow America had just been so much better a hundred years ago gosh why can t we all just get back to thatMy new goal is go get everyone to read this book and find out if they hate it as much as I did This book gave me desires Deep dark desires forgardening And making my own cheese And doing things from scratch And doing them nowThe thing is these are all things I have aspirations to do anyway but my way is rather slower than the way Barbara Kingsolver and her family approached trying to eat locally for a year I m trying to make small long term changes one at a time hopefully in a way that I ll stick to it But it was fun to read about someone else s experiment in mostly non preachy tones and you know ite a lot about turkey birth sex and death Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision hereIn the meantime you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook I read this Then I gave it my sister then she gave it to a friend Where it went from then I don t know but I am reasonably confident that this book was of no practical se to any of sI m tempted to say that everybody is haunted by the dream of the good life when your eyes glaze over and you dream of escaping trouble and woe for a better way of living but I m probably just projecting my own state of mind here Certainly though I can sympathise with the position that Barbara Kingsolver found herself in that starts this book offShe was living in some part of the USA where the population was way in excess of local water resources so the municipality had water brought in by canal which it advised the local population was safe to drink but not safe to put into auariums This experience put the seal on Kingsolver s concerns over food miles and the nease that comes from living in an arid environment with food and water brought into what was a desert ecosystem rather than the population living in a sustainable environment in the first place This starting point of which I m reminded whenever I see asparagus air freighted into the UK that was grown in arid semi desert regions of Peru of realising that the logic of capitalism produces illogical and environmentally nsustainable outcomes is something that many readers can recognise but Kingsolver s response while interesting is one that few will be able to emulateWhat Barbara Kingsolve. Ly buy food raised in their own neighborhood grow it themselves or learn to live without it Part memoir part journalistic investigation. .
This books is not AT ALL in my normal wheelhouse and I m still scratching my head as to why I suddenly felt impelled to order it on and read it It s non fiction which nothing against non fiction but again not a genre I n You have to read this book Not just because it conveys an important message about the sustainability and environmental impact of our foodways Not just because its Year in Provence style charm makes Appalachia sound as alluring as the French or Italian countryside no euros reuired But mostly because this is beautiful tightly strung writing about food and what it means to nourish ourselves If you ve read a certain amount of writing on food you know sweet and delicious though it may be that it can get cloying A ick flip through Barbara s chapter on turkey butchering wil I can forgive the obvious shortcommings of this book for three significant reasons First I believe wholeheartedly that by purchasing as much locally grownmade food as possible we can solve our fossil fuel dependency Secondly by the luck of the draw I can afford to purchase food from the weekly farmer s market And finally our household is committed to making around 95% of our meals from scratch which started as a response to our collective allergies nondairy meat eaters but like the Kingsolver tribe once our taste buds were reawakened by the flavor of our delicious made by scratch food there was no turning back I agree with most of what she says and respect her reminder that I need to buy as much food as possible from local farmers and I am going to try a few of her recipes I do on occasion enjoy a frozen Snickers barIn general I endured this book and it certainly motivated me But the book has many problemsSeveral critics have said it was not her intention to convince everyone but I don t buy that When a well known author writes a book like this it becomes persuasive argument Hey every book you write is an argument Besides The Farmer s Market Choir is already convinced Rather The Grand Sophy uickly Kingsolver s tone is preachy and well whom is she yelling at but theninitiated It reminds me of the old saying there is nothing worse than listening to the recently reformed After all she did spend a huge amount of time in Arizona and that other life eating and drinking Poor Arizona The only answer this evolved American author can come Winners Dream up with is to abandon you I was both an inspired and a reluctant reader I wish I had edited this book to help cut out some of thennecessary fat One moment she has me right in the palm of her hand the next she veers off shoe horning that well warn and skewed stereotype about how the French given their high calorie intake manage to stay thin and how Europe has nude beaches where Americans could never show O viziune a sentimentelor up with rolls of fat hanging out and suddenly I feel cornered by the marginalized relative at my family reunion At first I am nodding with agreement when she argues that eating freshly prepared food is a matter of attitude but then she says take a look at Mexico and I stop nodding Having stayed on many a ranch in Mexico I wonder why she fails to recognize the rigid gender roles The economic problems Then much later on page 127 she admits that Full time homemaking may not be an option for those ofs delivered without trust fundsReuired participation from a spouse and kids an element of
the euation and well it all comes much too late This book had the potentialeuation and well it all comes much too late This book had the potential missed the chance to change the minds of the other people the nconvinced the people she most needs I wanted her to stop meandering stop arguing every counter argument and stick to her narrative nonfiction story and its strongest argument how a renewed connection to food transformed her family and their relationship with the community By purchasing your neighbors food you can help with the fossil fuel problem AND keep their farm in business Small yet significant gestures such as buying butter from the same family in your area keeps them in business and it is a huge step in the right direction And since many Americans feel helpless this book could show them how to help and that s a big wondeful adjustment in a culture where and people feel left out and powerless This plan will only work if people get on board and if we find a way to help Arizona And YES by eating this kind of food many have lost weight and become heart healthy and all of that is good But instead of shrilling tell by showing girlfriend Like many narrative nonfiction books on the market today the ones people in the publishing business call idea books Kingsolver s narrator tries too hard steps into her self made traps There s so much I should love about this book and I hope some other author takes p this subject again and gives it a good try I d certainl. Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial food pipeline to live a rural life vowing that for one year they'd on.
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Food Either Produced Byeither produced by or sourced very locally Here we are on what could be for many common ground However what this means in practise for her is moving her family to another state where she has a large house with extensive grounds These she has landscaped sing digging machines to carve out a system of terraces This provides land enough not only to grow vegetables but also to raise turkeys and money enough to grow vegetables but also to raise turkeys and money enough pay for this as well as basic vegetables from Farmers Markets So this is a very personal response not a manifesto it is not suitable to become a call to arms While I like what she and her family did the lifestyle they adopt reflects their circumstances including an independent income as well as a nearby Farmers market that supplies basic foodstuffsThis book provides no model for the good life but nor does it aspire to do so As laid out here only the aspiration of living off your own and local produce is scalable for those without her means What saves the book is its humour best demonstrated in her account of the pbringing and the sexual lives of turkeys Dear Barbara KingsolverI m very sorry but I m abandoning my attempt to read your book Animal Vegetable Miracle which chronicles the year your family spent living on your farm in Virginia attempting to eat only local sustainable foodI adore your novels And I loved Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore s Dilemma They even made me stop eating fast food buy organic when I can and give p most meatI wanted to love your book I settled in as you scolded me for eating produce that is flown from halfway around the world You re right I know It makes no sense And then you said if I could only taste fresh vegetables straight from the vine I couldn t stand my bland Stop Shop tomato It s true It doesn t taste that good Tell me It s all very interestingThen four chapters later you were still scolding meBarbara I would love to harvest wild asparagus in the early mornings but I do not have a family farm or a book contract to retreat to All the CSAs near me are sold out for years I know I m a moral failure because the bananas I have for breakfast come from South America I will patronize my local vegetable stand because of reading your four chapters Can you stop yelling at me nowPlease oh please write another novelSarah Barbara Kingsolver has long been one of my favorite writers but this most recent book was a bit of a mixed bag for me The book covers the year she and her family spent eating only food they had either grown themselves or purchased from local farmers personally known to them Kingsolver s skill as a storyteller is ndiminished and there are some wonderful sections as she relates their adventures plotting how t I do not want to have lunch with Barbara Kingsolver I do not want to sit across the table from this self satisfied woman and have her gently scold me for eating imported world traveler foods like bananas I also do not want to hear any of her stories about how awesome she and her family are and how they were able to eat primarily off what they could grow in their backyard plenty of fresh vegetables or buy from local farmers who are all personal friends anyway Aren t we cool I don t want to hear any about how her family is doing their part to stop global warming by reducing food processing and transportation costs and now they all managed to do it without fighting Who are these people Everybody gets home from work or school and has to go garden Multiple Mayhem (Gabby Duran until dark every freaking day and there s no fighting There s no salmon or packaged cookies or Cheetos and there s still no fighting Even though some members of the family are 17 and like 10 What I wanted most of all was to hear the stories about how she caught her daughter hiding Little Debbiender the bed or how her teenager was too embarrassed to bring her friends over without soda to offer them But nooooo No such humanizing details Some small bumps in the road such as when the teenager craves fresh fruit in early spring but none is in season But a ha easily solved with rhubarb from the farmer s market Give me a break This is cheating the readers It had to have been interesting than this But that aside it actually was pretty interesting She s a wonderful writer and much of the information and storytelling was totally fascinating I will be thinking about this book for a long time and it really has inspired me to pay attention to local growing seasons although in California I guess we re a little spoiled and do shopping at farmer s markets and cook and perhaps even grow my own tomatoesheirloom of course I just don t want to hang out with Barbara Kingsolver Ever Unless she s prepared to talk about what really went dow. Animal Vegetable Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth You are what you