Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: Summary and book reviews of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, plus links to an excerpt from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and a biography of Barbara Kingsolver.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle A Year of Food Life
by Barbara Kingsolver
Hardcover: May 2007,
Paperback: Apr 2008,
Bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver returns with her first nonfiction narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.
"As the U.S. population made an unprecedented mad dash for the Sun Belt, one carload of us paddled against the tide, heading for the Promised Land where water falls from the sky and green stuff grows all around. We were about to begin the adventure of realigning our lives with our food chain.
"Naturally, our first stop was to buy junk food and fossil fuel..."
Hang on for the ride: With characteristic poetry and pluck, Barbara Kingsolver and her family sweep readers along on their journey away from the industrial-food pipeline to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Their good-humored search yields surprising discoveries about turkey sex life and overly zealous zucchini plants, en route to a food culture that's better for the neighborhood and also better on the table. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life and diversified farms at the center of the American diet.
"This is the story of a year in which we made every attempt to feed ourselves animals and vegetables whose provenance we really knew . . . and of how our family was changed by our first year of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank the water, and breathed the air."
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is to food as Bill Bryson's books are to travel - accessible and likely to appeal to a far wider audience than most of their genre. The one or two reviewers who criticize the book on the basis that supermarket organic foods cost too much for real people on real budgets seem to be missing the point. Not once in the year do the Kingsolver family buy a bijou package of overpriced organic vegetables from a supermarket. Instead they eschew the supermarket in favor of seeking out locally grown foods, usually grown by themselves or bought from local farmers markets - and save money in the process. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
The Seattle Times - Barbara Lloyd McMichael
Kingsolver is idealistic but also down to earth. She grouses about too much zucchini like the rest of us, and she has a charmingly self-deprecating sense of humor. All of which makes one feel churlish to complain, but I must. For even as Kingsolver and family argue that this whole effort to go back to local and organically grown foods is not elitist, they are farming their acreage, driving their hybrid car (those aren't cheap), sending Camille off to college and taking two vacations a year (one of them to Italy) ....
Kingsolver passionately pencils out the ultimate savings of going organic. It looks great on paper, but when I go to the grocery store and have to choose between the agribusiness-produced green peppers or organically farmed peppers at five times the price, guess which one I'm going with?
Dallas Morning News - Anne Morris
Who could turn down an invitation to share with writer Barbara Kingsolver and her family a year's noble experiment in eating locally? That experiment is what this always informative, often warm, sometimes funny and occasionally tedious food memoir describes.
Time Out New York - Emily Stone
The family’s pragmatic approach to the limitations of their lifestyle may be the most valuable lesson for would-be locavores. They allow themselves imported indulgences like coffee and gladly burn the necessary fossil fuel to transport themselves to an Italian agriturismo vacation. In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, as in nature, every rule has an exception.
San Francisco Chronicle- Jonah Raskin Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, might persuade readers to return to the soil, or put down new roots in rural communities. But you don't have to be a budding farmer to appreciate this book. You might come away from Kingsolver's memoir more aware of what you're putting into your body, where you shop and how you cook in your kitchen. Then, too, you might see, more clearly, the choices facing humanity that concern the survival of our species, the continued existence of plants and animals and the health and well-being of the Earth itself.
St. Petersburg Times
Barbara Kingsolver's first book in five years is not a novel but an impassioned, sensual and smart narrative about a year she and her family spent as "locavores": eating only food that they had grown or that was grown or raised nearby. It also includes Steven Hopp's cogent essays on the food industry and Camille Kingsolver's inviting recipes.
With some assistance from her husband, Steven, and 19-year-old daughter, Camille, Kingsolver (Prodigal Summer, 2000, etc.) elegantly chronicles a year of back-to-the-land living with her family in Appalachia...Readers frustrated with the unhealthy, artificial food chain will take heart and inspiration here.
Writing with her usual sharp eye for irony, she urges readers to follow her example and reconnect with their food's source.
Starred Review. Kingsolver takes the genre to a new literary level; a well-paced narrative and the apparent ease of the beautiful prose makes the pages fly.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Cloggie Downunder a very interesting read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is the 7th non-fiction book by Barbara Kingsolver. Co-written with her husband, Stephen L. Hopp, and her daughter, Camille Kingsolver, this book details her family’s experiences during the year they decided to become... Read More
Rated of 5
by Lorena I am in love with this book! I could write a long review, go on for hours about different elements that encouraged and enlightened me. But to put it plainly, this book changed my life. It ignited a passion for living closer to the earth, and respect her efforts. I encourage... Read More
Rated of 5
by Jill Hansen Soul mates It has been a very long time since I found a book that I could not put down. This book is not only it, but I had to check it out 3 times from the library because I could not give it up. It started out as a book recommended by the librarian for a... Read More
Review (not rated)
by Rockey Mann We STILL need people telling us this? It amazes me that everyone is all agog about something we all should know by heart - seasonal eating. We are killing our planet with everything all the time as a food style. How are city mobs supposed to eat locally? This is a priviledge of the... Read More
Rated of 5
by Elyse Grau Enjoyable read, with reservations I was attracted to this book as a kindred spirit (of sorts) to the author. I have been growing much of my own food (plant-based, anyway) as I could for many years. I prefer to eat seasonal foods, and buy locally produced items whenever... Read More
The average supermarket
food item has traveled 1500
miles to reach our kitchens
- that's further than most
families go on vacation.
If every US citizen ate
just one meal a week from
locally grown meat and
produce we would save 1.1
million barrels of oil every
Six companies now
control 98 percent of the
world's seed sales; the
largest of these is
Monsanto. The most common
seed modifications are genes
that kill caterpillars and
make the plant resistant to
a specific herbicide; for
example, Monsanto create
plants that are resistant to
Roundup, which they also
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